UPDATE: Dale Gerber Jr. is back on the Rising Sun ballot, town administrator Calvin Bonenberger said in a press release Thursday morning. Bonenberger said Gerber came to town hall Wednesday morning to comply with the requirements.
by Lisa Tome
Commissioner candidate Dale Gerber, Jr. has been removed from the ballot for the Monday, October 19 town election in Rising Sun.
Commissioners Allen Authenreath and Dave Warnick voted to remove Gerber at Tuesday night's town meeting. The reason cited for the removal is that Gerber missed the Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. deadline for completing required candidate disclosures. Commissioner Jennifer Scully was absent from the meeting. The fourth seat is vacant. That left just two board members to vote.
Rising Sun Ethics Commission member Dave Foxx made a report to the town board. He said of the five candidates, just two, Joe Shephard and Joanne Osborne, were determined to be qualified candidates initially. Candidate Brian Leishear was missing a signature on a form and didn't return forms that did not apply to him. He did what he was asked and was also determined to be qualified a few days later.
As of Tuesday afternoon, candidate Bob Fisher also had issues with his forms. Fisher met the deadline for making corrections. The corrected forms hadn't been reviewed by the ethics board between the deadline and the town meeting where a decision had to be made. Foxx said to assume that Fisher's forms were correct and he was declared a candidate. Foxx also stated that Fisher "disclosed more than he needed to."
Foxx said that Gerber's issues involved real estate discrepancies and income submittals. He was given a chance to resubmit forms a second time, and did. More issues cropped up with those forms. Gerber was given until Tuesday afternoon to respond for a third time and did not do so. Foxx said he was notified with a hand-delivered letter and by mail.
One of the reasons a decision had to be made is so that residents who wanted to submit an absentee ballot could do so.
Foxx said that since the process of declaring candidates and reviewing forms takes so long, he would like the town board to allow a longer time span between the filing deadline and election day in the future.
This isn't the first time this happened in Rising Sun. In the last town election in June 2014 candidate Kathy Jaggers was removed from the ballot days before the election. A Cecil County Circuit Court order reinstated her to the ballot.
On June 2, 2014, Ethics Commission members invited Jaggers to a meeting in an effort to outline how required financial forms were to be completed. Jaggers brought her husband to the meeting. He was asked to leave. Both she and he left the meeting and the forms were not completed.
After that experience, which Foxx said proved costly to the town for court fees, Mayor Travis Marion said he was reluctant to remove a candidate if Gerber would be put back on the ballot.
"Do we have our ducks in a row," Marion asked Foxx.
"I believe we've gone above and beyond," said Foxx. "That injunction cost the town a lot of money."
Bernard Chiominto was also removed from the ballot due to illness.
The Town of Rising Sun Election will be held Monday, October 19 from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on the third floor of town hall.
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