COLUMBIANA COUNTY State assigns official to help election education program

Ethics and public relations will be among the topics covered.
LISBON -- A state organization has tapped Columbiana County's election board director to help assemble an education program intended to foster professionalism.
John Payne said Tuesday his background in education earned him the assignment from the Association of Ohio Election Officials and the state secretary of state's office.
Payne's job is to write course outlines for an eight-topic, four-year program being developed to help election board directors, deputies and members become better grounded in the principles that underlie election-related topics.
Those include administration, ethics and public relations, Payne explained.
Classes offered: The association and secretary of state's office already offer classes for election officials. But they are more technically oriented and meant to be taken individually, not as part of a complete course of study, Payne said.
The professionalism program, which is voluntary, is broader in scope and is intended to provide a foundation for professional leadership, he added.
"We want to plant the seed of professionalism among ourselves so the public will have trust in what we do and that we're doing the job right," Payne said.
He noted that the professionalism course was being planned by the association and secretary of state's office long before last November's presidential election confusion in Florida.
Payne, 55, is a member of the election association's education committee.
Developing outlines: He said he was asked to develop course outlines because university professors and individuals from business and other backgrounds may be asked to present coursework.
Payne's outlines will help them tailor their presentation to election officials. He will continue as elections director.
The county's election board director for nearly nine years, Payne, 55, previously was administrator of Ohio Valley Business College, East Liverpool.
He also served as a junior and senior high school teacher in the East Liverpool school district.
Payne has a master's degree in school administration from the University of Dayton, where he also has pursued doctorate studies in the same field.