By Sue Botos
It’s a bit like deja vu at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, as Rob Frost has been appointed to fill the unexpired term of Bay Village Mayor Debbie Sutherland.
The Cuyahoga County Republican Party chairman has been appointed by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to fill the vacancy created after the February resignation of Sutherland, who declared her intent to seek another term as mayor. She stepped down due to Ohio code, which prohibits any candidate for political office from serving on the board. She had been appointed to one of two Republican seats on the board after Frost left in April 2011 to run for U.S. Congress.
The code also requires bipartisan representation on each of the state’s 88 county boards of elections. Each of these boards is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, who are qualified voters for their counties. Husted makes these appointments based on the recommendations of the county political party executive committees.
A Rocky River City councilman from 2001 until 2006, Frost was initially appointed to the board in 2007. His father, Robert Frost, was also a councilman in that city in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“Mayor Sutherland and I were put in the same position. We both needed to step off the board in order to pursue our campaigns properly and without conflict of interest,” commented Frost in a recent interview.
Frost feels that the board has “really turned around” since he began his first term six years ago. He added that “the news needs to be about the election results” rather than controversy within the board.” While he was not happy with his own results of the last election, losing a bid to face off with then-incumbent Dennis Kucinich, Frost said he “didn’t walk away with any suspicions” that the elections were not conducted properly.
“We had a momentous task ahead of us,” said Frost, referring to the beginning of his first term. “Now with our new director, Pat McDonald, we are able to promote from within, and that’s a sign of a healthy agency,” the Lakewood attorney said.
According to Frost, the board is seeking greater engagement with the community by recruiting more poll workers and educating citizens about what goes on behind the scenes at the board.
He added that a good mix of older, experienced employees, along with the fresh perspectives of newer staff, will keep the agency running well. “To maintain and to run efficiently is job one,” he stated.