A battle has been brewing at the Board of Elections. It’s been a tumultuous year for the agency that’s charged with ensuring the integrity of the state’s electoral process. Its $143,131 executive director, Robert Kando, is set to be fired in January unless the board decides before then that he has made significant improvements. Since making that decision, however, the board — one of the few where the governor-appointed members are paid — has still struggled to get through the simplest of endeavors. Last week, shouting ensued over the mundane task of approving the meeting minutes, as board members said that Kando had drafted minutes intended to disparage board members who have taken issue with his performance.
Meanwhile, it took the board (whose seven members are each paid $1,615 a year) nine meetings to approve a state-required affirmative-action plan for the agency on Dec. 9. Approval of the plan first landed on an agenda Aug. 25. Several meetings included arguing over whether training would be scheduled and whether the right forms were filled out.
(The board also voted on the plan Nov. 10. The vote was 2-0, with two board members abstaining after lengthy debate. The board’s legal counsel, Raymond Marcaccio, reported last week that a 2-0 vote does not legally approve a motion, and another vote was taken.)
Approval of the agency’s 2017 budget request has been so arduous that at last week’s meeting there were two separate agenda items — one to approve the budget and one to approve the budget’s cover letter. The budget request was due in early September, and the item has been on the agenda for six meetings since Sept. 22.