The Lima News
Legal, but flawed, is the best way to describe Allen County’s system for checking the residency of a candidate.
The board verifies a candidate’s address by sending a piece of non-forwardable mail to the address of a candidate. If the mail does not come back, the new address is approved.
Talk about something easy to skirt. All you need is someone to pick up your mail, and you can live in the state of Idaho and still run for office in Lima. We’re dumbfounded how a government agency could actually think such a process wouldn’t be open for abuse. It reminds us of the old saying: “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the government way” of doing things.
The residency issue was raised Tuesday by Lima Mayor David Berger, who called on challenger Douglas Vermillion to clarify his residence. Vermillion, a retired city worker and Marion Township police chief, has owned a home on Elida Road near Delphos since 1996 and still owns it. On Dec. 24, 2012, Vermillion changed his voting residence to a home on East Murphy Street in Lima. The house is owned by his parents.
“Everyone who knows Mr. Vermillion knows that his actual home is on Elida Road near Delphos and has been for the last 17 years,” Berger said.
Vermillion answered that he moved to his parents’ home to attend to a family situation, and he lives in the home. The elections board approved his address change Jan. 8.
Berger says Vermillion is “thumbing his nose” at the city charter’s residency requirement, disrespecting the real residents of the city. We agree with that, although in the mayor’s case, you could argue that his crying foul is like the pot calling the kettle black.
It wasn’t that long ago that Steve Cleaves was the “interim” finance director of Lima, the word “interim” being added to the title so Cleaves could skirt Lima’s residency requirement. Everyone knew at the time there was nothing “interim” about the job.
Bending the rules is a common practice of politics.