Saturday, November 23, 2002

Political parties unite to oppose `eccentric' board member

The Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio - Republican and Democratic leaders in Montgomery County are uniting in an attempt to find a way to remove the area's newly elected representative to the State Board of Education.

John W. Griffin, 75, a retired farmer who served one term on the board from 1992 to 1994, won a four-year term Nov. 5. Leaders of both parties want Mr. Griffin recalled because of what they describe as his eccentric behavior.

David Landon, a Republican leader, and Montgomery County Democratic Chairman Dennis Lieberman said there appears to be no mechanism in the law to keep Mr. Griffin from taking office or oust him once he's seated in January.

Mr. Griffin, a Democrat, defeated his party's endorsed candidate and incumbent Republican Carl Wick to win the board seat representing Montgomery, Butler and Miami counties and a portion of Darke County.

James Uphoff, an Oakwood school board member and past president of the Ohio School Boards Association, has said Mr. Griffin lacks basic knowledge of how schools function. Two members of the state board who served with Mr. Griffin during his first term - Martha Wise and Virginia Jacobs - have said he was ineffective and occasionally disruptive.

"I'm pretty aggravated," Mr. Griffin said Friday. "I've done nothing wrong. I ran for office and I won. We had an election, and we must support the voice of the people."

Mr. Griffin said he had a perfect attendance record during his first term and is "on top" of the issues.

He said he has a hearing problem and is bewildered by assertions that he's eccentric.

"I don't see I'm different than anyone else," he said.

Mr. Griffin suggested politics are behind the move.

Rick Dickinson, chief attorney for the Ohio School Boards Association, has said there is no recall provision for state officeholders such as board of education members.

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