Ley Allows Opponent to Keep County Post
“Sure, politics ain’t bean-bag. ‘Tis a man’s game, an’ women, childer, cripples an’ prohybitionists ‘d do well to keep out iv it.”
Finley Peter Dunne, newspaper columnist, in the guise of character Mr. Dooley, 1895
In this age of fierce partisan tussles in American politics, a 120-year-old saying probably rings truer than ever.
Well, save for the part about it being solely a man’s game.
Or, for that matter, the exclusive domain of any one party, from the highest to the most local of levels. (Though, for an entertaining account of the intrepid Mitt Romney’s marring of the phrase, check out this NY Mag recap.)
Still, in even the most rough-and-tumble professions resembling politics — football coaching, say; or the PTA — it’s not unheard of for the new regime to retain a bit of the old, particularly when the would-be incumbents boast experience or qualifications helpful to the new order.
I am sure the practice never has anything to do with needing a handy scapegoat, or a grunt to the dirty work.
No great stretch, then, to imagine this act of generosity — whether in earnest or calculation — predates “politics ain’t beanbag” by centuries, and likely millennia. I seem to recall a certain Brutus bringing a sharp object past the Roman Senate’s metal detectors and toga friskers, and Mark Antony having a few words to say about that.
So today’s post transports us a mere 104 years, or 26 four-year political cycles, back to Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Great-great Grandfather Charles Henry Ley has just won election as county treasurer, and instead of cleaning house, he opts to retain his opponent, the incumbent deputy treasurer John Lineberger. Ley had bested Lineberger in the primary election that spring.
No word on how much calculation or generosity was involved in the gesture. But I like to think the two got along as they saw to the county coffers. In 1915, when Charles Ley’s tenure ended, Lineberger would step in.
Here’s how the New Philadelphia, Ohio Daily Times wrote up the appointment, Jan. 30, 1911:
LINEBERGER TO RETAIN HIS OFFICE
Treasurer-elect C. Ley Re-appoints Him
MANY AFTER JOB
Deputyship, however, to be retained by present incumbent.
Deputy County Treasurer John A. Linbeberger, of Dennison, has been reappointed to that office by Country Treasurer-elect Charles Ley of Port Washington, who defeated Mr. Lineberger for the nomination at the primary election last spring. The appointment was officially announced Monday morning by Mr. Ley, and is being received with favor on all sides.
Mr. Lineberger has been deputy county treasurer under W.A. Wagner for five years. He is a courteous official and during his term of office has made many friends, who will be glad to hear of his re-appointment.
There were nearly twenty applicants for the position, it is understood, notwithstanding this Mr. Ley made an almost unprecedented move by appointing a man, was was not an applicant for the position and who was also his opponent for the nomination. This is said to be without parallel in Tuscarawas County.
Treasurer-elect Ley will take office the first Monday in September, when the present incumbent, W.A. Wagner will step out after five years of most efficient service. Mr. Ley’s term of office, under the present law, is two years.