In his quest to bury all the bodies of Ohio’s past leadership, Governor John Kasich deposed state school board member Martha Harris of Cleveland Heights earlier this month, claiming that the proper paperwork had never been filed for her Senate confirmation two years ago. He replaced her with Angela Thi Bennett of East Cleveland.
Harris counters that the paperwork was filed. She’s being represented by Columbus attorney and former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, another cog in Ohio’s last regime who’s now watching from the sidelines.
Harris and Bennett ran in 2008 for the elected seat from Northeast Ohio. Harris finished second and Bennett third in a low-profile race won by former Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar. Harris was then appointed to an open seat by Governor Ted Strickland in January 2009 and served two years with no questions raised.
Brunner knows of no previous case like Harris’ and says the Kasich administration hasn’t revealed its motivation for unearthing the technicality. “It would seem that they must have been looking through paperwork to find this,” she says. “Another scenario would be some sort of tipoff by someone looking for credit with the new administration.”
A Kasich spokesman did not return calls seeking explanation for the shakeup, but a clue might lie in Harris’ background: A retired teacher, she’s a staunch advocate for public schools and unions, which Kasich loathes more than idiot cops.
Bennett, a young lawyer with a minimal background in education, told WCPN last week that she favors “school choice” and that union seniority rules should be reconsidered, two stances that would make her very popular with the new boss.