Sampson County’s Board of Elections has begun the process of searching for, and eventually hiring, a new elections director, someone who will fill the position left behind by Donna Marshburn who was selected in 2010 from among more than a dozen other applicants to lead the Board of Elections, serving as director for about three years before passing away in November after a long and difficult bout with illness.
The board got to work on the task during a meeting held earlier in the week, on Monday, Dec. 9, shared board chairman Ted Lockerman. At that meeting, he and his fellow board members reviewed the position’s benefits and salary range, information which had previously been requested from the county.
“We wanted to be able to intelligently answer any questions people may have about the position,” Lockerman said, adding that during Monday’s meeting the board also “structured the advertisement that will run for four weeks in the newspaper.”
“Applicants will be able to apply during that 30-day period then we will start interviewing,” he continued, noting that interested persons can apply even if they have no elections experience. “We’d like to find someone with some experience but they can gain experience.”
Lockerman explained, as a hypothetical example, that if the board received 10 applications they would then narrow the pool down to three or four applicants who would be interviewed for a second time before the board makes its final decision.
“The process will take at least two months,” Lockerman noted. “It’s important to get the ad moving fast and get it done as quickly as possible because primaries are next year so it’s important to get moving.”
That’s especially true if the applicant chosen has little to no previous elections experience under his or her belt.
“We would love to have someone by the end of February or first of March. That’s still a very short time period to prepare for primaries” in May, he pointed out, adding that the board would probably ask Sylvia Thornton, former Sampson County elections director who served, prior to the late Marshburn, for 39 years before retiring, to assist in the process.
Thornton is currently acting as a temporary replacement for Marshburn until a permanent director can be found. “Hopefully she will agree to stay a while to give the new person time to gain some experience from her 35-plus years of experience.”
Most of all though, Lockerman stressed, “we want to be sure to get someone who will be right for the county and be totally fair to all political parties and voters.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.