Editor’s Note: The April 6 issue of The Morrow County Sentinel ran the following story. It is republished here to correct that the candidate signs which were removed were not an opponent’s as the headline stated. The story has also been edited for brevity and to include remarks by Commissioner Whiston.
MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County auditor candidate Conni McChesney had yard signs placed on March 24 on the former HPM property with permission from current property owner Ted Bloom of Warren, Ohio; but on March 25 she found her signs next to her parking space at Morrow County Hospital where she serves as controller. She contacted Morrow County Sheriff John Hinton.
At Sheriff Hinton’s recommendation, McChesney contacted Bloom to review the permission he had previously given her. His responding text response read,”Please do not put any signs up.” She remains confused as to why he initially gave permission and then rescinded it.
Hospital security video showed Morrow County Commissioner Tom Whiston placing the signs he removed from the HPM property by her hospital parking space.
In his report Hinton wrote, “I then made contact with Tom Whiston by telephone… I asked Tom if he had removed some campaign signs from HPM. He admitted that he did at the request of the property owner.”
In a subsequent interview with the Sentinel, Whiston said someone called him complaining the signs were on the HPM property and Whiston contacted the property owner and Bloom told Whiston he did not realize who McChesney was when he granted her permission to place her signs. The owner, Whiston said, assumed McChesney was the current auditor campaigning with him.
Whiston said he took the signs down at the owner’s request.
“Someone who was driving by called and said, ‘How come there are signs out there?’ It wasn’t something I initiated,” Whiston said. “As far as the three signs, I just returned them,” he added.
The report further states that Whiston said he would have advised McChesney herself to remove them but she was not at the Central Committee meeting he attended.
“I explained to Tom that he should not have touched her signs regardless if the property owner had requested them to be removed,” the report said.
Sheriff Hinton made contact with the Morrow County Board of Elections to make them aware of an issue involving candidates in a local election. He also contacted Prosecutor Thomas Smith to make him aware of the incident.
Penny Porter of the Morrow County Board of Elections when described the incident stated, “I would say they [Whiston] shouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t do that if I was the candidate. It wouldn’t reflect well on me as a candidate.”
“I got into this race for county auditor because the people in the county deserve serious, competent leaders who act with and treat people with integrity,” McChesney said in an email to the Sentinel. “I want to talk about the issues that people actually care about and focus on the job I’m running to do. Instead, we have to deal with nonsense like this. Our county deserves so much better from our leaders. My focus remains on getting our positive vision for the auditor’s office out to the public and working to deliver the change in leadership the people of this county so desperately need and deserve.”