(Posted Jan. 27, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Teresa A. Ames is following in her father’s footsteps as a member of the Madison County Board of Elections.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted recently appointed Ames to the board to complete the term her father, Stephen Saltsman, vacated at the end of last year. The term expires Feb. 28, 2017.
Saltsman said he left the position because changes in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) prevent re-employed retirees from “double-dipping” on benefits. The changes took effect at the start of this year. Saltsman retired in 2005 as Madison County sheriff. Two years later, he became a Board of Elections member, considered a part-time, paid public sector job. With the PERS changes and the small amount he made with the Board of Elections, he decided to resign rather than incur a significant increase in out-of-pocket health insurance and prescription costs.
“I really hated to leave,” said Saltsman.
The Madison County Republican Executive Committee recommended Ames to fill the vacancy as one of two Republican representatives on the board. The other, London resident Bill Blazer, was appointed in October to fill the seat vacated by West Jefferson resident Pete Kitchen. That term expires on Feb. 29 of this year. The two Democrats on the board are Debbie Cochran of London and Howard Foust of Plain City.
Ames, a London resident, said she is excited to take up where her father left off.
“I’ve always been interested in the election process,” she said. “I was a senior in high school when Dad ran for sheriff for the first time. I was a registered voter, we were learning about the election process in class, and Dad had opposition in the primary, so we were living it as a family.”
Ames said her connection with public service and politics continued after graduation. Her first jobs out of high school were as a part-time dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Office and part-time employee of the county clerk of courts. In the late 1990s, she took a job with the county probate juvenile court. She later became active in local party politics and is a member of the Republican Central Committee, as well as the Republican Women’s Club, for which she served twice as president. Currently, she is self-employed as a hair stylist.
Members of the Madison County Board of Elections are responsible for employing the county’s elections staff, signing off on valid candidate petitions, rejecting petitions that don’t meet requirements, overseeing processes on Election Day, checking compliance of absentee and provisional ballots, certifying election results, and approving policies recommended by the director.