YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party said the party is making changes to be in compliance with state and national party mandates.
One provision says the chair and executive vice chair of the party have to be the opposite sex, but that is not the case now.
Chairman Dave Betras said in order to comply, a female vice chair of succession will be named. Joyce Kale Pesta would take over the party for 30 days if something happens to Betras.
“Our Constitution provides that if I should resign or I should die, that the committee meets and appoints a new chairman within 30 days. That’s kind of unusual to other local parties. Other local parties, the executive vice chair takes over until the next term. That is not how it is with us,” Betras said.
He said prior to last week’s election, he got a call from the Ohio Democratic Party telling him he wasn’t in compliance and that a woman had to be executive vice chair, not one of the three men running. He also thought rules spelled out in the Mahoning County’s Democrats Constitution had things covered.
“Since Joyce is already the secretary, we’re just expanding her definition of what she does and make her a vice chair of succession and we will be compliant with the Constitution,” Betras said.
He said everyone who was sworn in at Saturday’s election is staying in his or her role, including newly elected executive vice chair, Ron Massullo.
The other issue the party is changing deals with secret balloting. Right now, the county’s constitution allows it, but the state and Democratic National Committee does not.
Betras said to comply, there will be open voting, but no one will be able to check the records and see how someone voted.
Betras said he has talked with the head of the state party and he is on board with the changes.
The Mahoning County Republican Party does not have to follow the same gender rule.
“We think that the best qualified person should be elected to office without regard to gender,” said Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe.
The party just voted in a female as vice chair: Tracey Winbush.
“She is an effective leader. She is an important part of our party,” Munroe said.