It's official: Charlotte Sosebee is the Hall County elections director.
Nearly five years after being appointed as interim elections director, Sosebee on Friday finally had interim removed from her title.
Chief Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller presided over the procedure to appoint Sosebee as chief registrar and elections director for the county.
"It is a relief," she said. "It's like birthing a baby. It's exciting. And just to know that it's official, it just kind of gives me assurance that I'm here."
In December 2006, Sosebee was sworn in as interim elections director after Anne Phillips Lea retired from the position.
In order to be officially appointed as county elections director, Fuller had to make a request to the grand jury, who then had to vote in approval.
"As an interim voter registrar (Sosebee) was fully clothed with the full powers of the voter registrar and I simply wanted to make sure I was confident in the recommendation that I would make to the grand jury," Fuller said.
This past Tuesday, Fuller made the recommendation to the grand jury — the first time he has made a recommendation on behalf of Sosebee.
Despite holding an interim title for several years, Sosebee said she never became frustrated and instead remained optimistic she would eventually be officially sworn in.
"I just have faith in what I do," she said. "And I just think when you put your heart in what you do, it's not in vain and eventually you will get the reward. I feel like today I'm rewarded."
Friends and colleagues alike have anticipated the day she would officially assume her title.
Valerie Richardson, area manager and trainer for the county elections office, previously worked under Lea and has since worked under Sosebee.
"We've been, quite frankly, wondering why she didn't get the job sooner," Richardson said.
Vonda Edwards, chief clerk for the elections office, said, "We're all excited. We're glad that it finally happened."
After holding the position as long as she has, friends and co-workers said they think Sosebee has proven herself capable.
"I just really am proud of Charlotte and all that she's accomplished in her role of interim director, and I think that she is a tremendous asset to Hall County," said Faye Bush, former director of the Newtown Florist Club and a friend of Sosebee's.
"... She is determined to have citizens participate in the voter registration process throughout the county."
After Lea retired on Dec. 31, 2006, more than half the office's managers also left, Richardson said.
"They quit even before they knew who was going to be the new director ... and that is a very, very difficult thing to go through," she said.
With so many new employees, Richardson said the county stood a good chance at being fined due to election issues.
"She did a marvelous job of making sure all these new people got all the proper training on all these new machines and all of the law and put area manager out in the field," Richardson said. "And we got through just simply amazed."
The responsibilities required of Sosebee are often spread among multiple positions in other counties, Richardson said.
With that much responsibility, Richardson describes Sosebee's ability to maintain control as "amazing."
"We like her, my managers like her, all the poll workers like her and they work hard for her," she said. "They know that she has their back. She's just a very good manager."