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Rushford, Election Commission, set to move on; No support for response.

Byline: Nick Kotsopoulos

WORCESTER - As far as a majority of election commissioners are concerned, the spat involving City Clerk David J. Rushford, the Election Commission and the secretary of state's office over communications related to the Nov. 6 election is behind them and they are moving on.

Last month, Commissioner Robert P. Winant said he was "upset and embarrassed" over what he felt was miscommunication between the Election Commission and secretary of state's office. He felt the problems cast the commission in a very negative light.

After that meeting, Mr. Rushford said Mr. Winant emailed him a number of questions regarding communications issues raised by the secretary of state's office and he sought clarification of some statements he heard on video recordings of Election Commission meetings held Oct. 29 and Nov. 2.

But in a letter presented to the Election Commission Monday night, Mr. Rushford said it was his understanding that the matter was "addressed and resolved to everyone's satisfaction" at the last meeting.

"If there are any further questions regarding this matter, I'd be happy to discuss them at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum," Mr. Rushford wrote.

Mr. Winant, however, questioned whether the matter had indeed been addressed to everyone's satisfaction. But when he asked his colleagues if they would like Mr. Rushford to respond to the issues in greater detail, no one joined him.

In fact, three of the four commissioners present - Commissioner David LaPierre did not attend - said they felt the issues already have been fully addressed.

The commission has taken no action against Mr. Rushford in response to complaints directed at him by the secretary of state's office. While commissioners have acknowledged there may have been instances of miscommunication with the secretary of state's office, some felt it was a two-way problem and, as a result, any blame should not rest solely with the city clerk.

Commissioner Mary Anne Dube said Monday night the issues were discussed at length at last month's commission meeting and protocols have been put into place to avoid miscommunication issues in the future.

She also called Mr. Rushford an "honest and forthcoming" individual.

"I feel these solutions will work very well," Ms. Dube said. "With these new protocols we can look forward to more open dialogue with the secretary of state's office, not less."

Commissioner John M. Goggins and Chairwoman Diane C. Mohieldin echoed that sentiment.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jan 8, 2013
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