ANSONIA — Ansonia Police Chief Frank Shapiro has been declared ineligible to run for the position of Darke County Sheriff in the March 2016 Primary Election in 2016. And, he’s not happy.
Shapiro, who was running on the Republican ticket, said he was notified a week before Christmas, via a telephone call from the Darke County Board of Elections, that his candidacy had not been certified by the board. He was then notified by mail as such.
The letter read in part, “Your petitions had 53 sufficient signatures. The additional requirements and qualifications as outlined in Ohio Revised Code 311.01 were not met.”
After talking over with his wife the possibility of running for sheriff and getting her blessing, the police chief went to the board of elections May 21 or 22 and declared his candidacy.
According to him, he told the person helping him, “I have never run for political office and I’m honored to be asked to run. Tell me what I need.”
“She gave me instructions on how to get on the Internet, handed me a booklet which she said had everything in it that I needed to know and then told me to follow those instructions,” he recalled. “That sounded simple so I go home and start my petition. I get 66 signatures, because you have to have 50. They did tell me to get extras just in case. I made sure everybody [who signed the petition] were on the Republican or Independent voter lists.”
Then, around mid-November, he said he took his signatures in, paid the $80 filing fee and asked if there was anything else they needed before the December deadline.
“She looked it over and said, ‘All right,’” he claimed. “She gave me some stuff but said I didn’t need to do it right now and she gave me other papers and a couple of booklets. And, I opened a checking account with $100 for the Frank Shapiro for Sheriff campaign fund, with me as overseer of it and my wife as second in command.”
Shapiro said he heard another fellow’s petition was not certified either and that six other candidates for various elected offices were denied “for whatever reason.”
“When I got the phone call telling me this, I said, ‘What do you mean? I followed the book I was given to a T. Why can’t I be certified?,” Shapiro asked the caller.
He alleged that he was told that certain requirements were not met when he filed.
“I said I can only assume I would have been given a form to complete to show I’m a resident and I have spent 10 years service in a supervisory position, have no felonies or convictions, but I followed the booklet,” he said. “She told me ‘It’s right there on page 5’ and told me to look at the middle of the page. It says county sheriff. It didn’t have that on there. I looked through the whole book. So, she had me read her what it said on the front of the book and I did. ‘I see the problem,’ she said. ‘We gave you the wrong book.’”
With that Shapiro replied, “Excuse me. Not the right book? Your mistake cost me my candidacy. I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t want to start problems. She left to call her legal department and returned 10 minutes later saying that that’s the way it was. She said the right book was not available until July and I said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me when I picked up my packet that it wasn’t the right book. you’ve personally caused me not to be able if I could run to be sheriff. She told me I should have known better and told me they would be sending me an official letter. That mistake cost me, so I called an attorney.”
He said he took it upon himself to check out the rules in the Ohio Revised Code, and, yes, he did see where he did not meet the requirements.
So, on Dec. 22 he made an affidavit with nine things about himself and then took it to the Darke County Courthouse and had it recorded and filed.
“I’ve already been denied, but I gave them a copy of my birth certificate, my high school diploma, my letter retirement and other copies” he said. “I called up the crime lab to have my fingerprints re-printed and certified for the BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation) and for the FBI, costing me $70.”
He said when everything is returned to him, he will give it to Darke County Common Pleas Court Judge Jonathan Hein to file.
“There is not much chance of getting anything changed in the board of elections,” Shapiro said. “It’s not going to help me. It will take an earth-mover to get it changed. But, I feel I’ve been treated unfairly. I don’t want to say it was intentional, however. I told her I relied on her word and why would she give me the wrong book knowing it wouldn’t be available until July. I followed directions and feel I’ve been cheated. I can’t fathom being told it’s my fault that I didn’t get the right information.”
He went on, “It’s very disappointing. A lot of people offered me their support to run for sheriff. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good at what I do. I’ve been at this game a long time….30 years. Leadership to me is extremely important. It pains me that somehow I stepped through the cracks with misinformation given to me. I’m of the opinion I don’t have a chance. There is prestige in being a county sheriff and my wife is behind me. I had a lot of people behind me.”
He said if he would have become sheriff here in the county, he would have the same principles he deals with at his office in Ansonia.
“I’m a stickler for training and, if it’s the law, that’s how we’ll do it and enforce the laws,” he said. “And, certainly the hiring of new officers has to fall under new scrutiny than what it is. I’m very technical.”
He said if he could he would still like to try and see if he could be the sheriff of a county and seeing how he could help.