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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Miller wants Langston off panel that will decide Hanson’s fate

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller wrote a letter to Linda Langston asking her to get off the panel that will on Thursday decide whether auditor candidate Lyle Hanson’s name can be on the ballot in the Democratic primary on June 3.

Here’s the letter: recuse-langston-request.pdf

Hanson and Miller were getting ready for one of the more interesting races in this election when Hanson’s nomination papers were challenged late last week. He had a date wrong on his paperwork, and two Cedar Rapids residents filed objections to his candidacy.

The Board of Supervisors Chairwoman — that’s Langston — is responsible for appointing a three-member panel of county elected officials to weigh the objections and decide whether Hanson can be on the ballot despite his slightly defective nomination papers. Langston appointed County Attorney Harold Denton, Treasurer Mike Stevenson and herself, thinking they are the three available elected officials with the least personal stake in the decision.

Miller thinks Langston has plenty of personal stake in the decision, and he said so in the letter. He thinks Supervisors Lu Barron and Jim Houser should be off the panel too.

His reasons?

He says there has been a “persistent rumor” that the supervisors recruited Hanson to challenge Miller in the first place. The supervisors deny this, but Miller cites the rumor as a reason Langston shouldn’t be on the panel. He also points out that Hanson attended Rotary meetings as the guest of Barron and Langston, and that all three supervisors signed Hanson’s petition papers.

The real issue appears to be, however, that Miller and the supervisors can not get along. They constantly disagree about things and Miller even says in the letter that “disagreements over the past 13 months…cannot be easily forgotten.”

So he asks that Langston “recuse” herself from the panel. 

It could be a problem, because Recorder Joan McCalmant is on vacation in Florida, and Sheriff Don Zeller has a more obvious conflict of interest than the supervisors, Langston said. He’s endorsed Brian Gardner for sheriff, and the panel has to decide on sheriff candidate Bill Elam’s nomination papers as well. Elam was missing the year on some of his papers.

“You’ve got this sort of process of elimination,” Langston said. “I’m mostly concerned that we don’t have enough bodies…I don’t care who’s on the panel.”

She’ll get together with county legal guru Gary Jarvis, the assistant county attorney, and figure out what to do. A conference call with McCalmant from Florida is a possibility.

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4 Responses

  1. IADEM says:

    Too funny! Linda Langston screwed up the dates on her own petition and also did not notice the screwed up dates on Lyle Hanson’s petition. If all three supervisors signed Lyle’s petition then none of them should serve on the challenge panel – especially since there are other choices of elected officials to serve.

    Even if they let his petition stand, I hope that Joel Miller uses this against Lyle. We can’t have someone in the position of Auditor and Commissioner of Elections how can’t accurately fill out such an elementary form as a ballot petition.

  2. Seth Moomey says:

    These actions are a testament to Mr Miller’s qualifications as County Auditor: accuracy over convenience, integrity before party, and ethics above all.

    This piece doesn’t offer much in regard to the BOS’s reaction – other than Langston’s limited stance – so I won’t assume anything less than that the BOS, as elected officials and fellow Democrats, will honor this request and recuse themselves from this hearing.

    Regardless of outcome, Joel Miller continually demonstrates the level of character imperative to the Auditor’s position.

  3. Telling... says:

    “The real issue appears to be, however, that Miller and the supervisors can not get along. They constantly disagree about things and Miller even says in the letter that “disagreements over the past 13 months…cannot be easily forgotten.””

    Someone who can’t seem to work with his peers is more of a concern than a minute date error.

    Quoting IADEM from above:

    “… Auditor and Commissioner of Elections how can’t accurately….”

    Criticizing someone for filling in the wrong date, which is a common mistake in nearly everyones life, with a statement containing an obvious grammatical error is quite humorous to me.

    Lyle has demonstrated superb leadership and service to the city of Cedar Rapids and the State of Iowa for nearly 30 years. I wholeheartedly support his bid for the office of Auditor.

  4. Antidem says:

    Let me start by saying that if your going to criticize someone for missing something, then you better make sure you spell-check your own before posting it. Telling brings this up but I thought I would reiterate the point.

    And to speak on Seth’s points of and I quote…

    “…….accuracy over convenience, integrity before party, and ethics above all…..”

    How much integrity did Miller have when he posted Lyle’s driver’s license on his website so ever hack and scam artist could attempt to now steal his identity. With this sort of Integrity and Ethics I believe strongly that it is time for a change at County Auditor.

    If you want an honest, hardworking and trustworthy individual as County Auditor then vote Lyle Hanson, but if you would rather see the sorry form of integrity and ethics that have been shown so far then keep it the same and pray for us all.

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