More than a year since Hall County’s elections director resigned, the county has decided to hire a replacement.
The county is looking to hire an elections superintendent — a different position from the one vacated in November 2016 by Charlotte Sosebee, who worked as the elections director and also served as the head of the Hall County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.
Now that the board has five appointed members, the county is leaving the creation of policy to the board and having the superintendent focus on the day-to-day running of the office.
“The board is now going to transition a little bit,” said Elections Board Chairman Tom Smiley. “I’ll still remain as chairman and we’ll still have the board as it presently exists, but our function will become more involved in broader policy matters and also being an advisor and consultant to the election superintendent as he or she might need us.”
In the new structure, the board itself would have ultimate authority to assign early voting locations, times, number of precincts and days of operations. The superintendent would then be responsible for carrying out those decisions.
“For instance, with the potential of bilingual ballots it would be the election superintendent who would be responsible for making that transition, getting everything that’s mandated by the federal government in order in time,” Smiley said.
Human Resources Director Bill Moats has been overseeing the department since Sosebee resigned in 2016.
Hall officials have been evaluating the structure of the department since that time, with an elections coordinator and registration coordinator handling the daily operations of the office.
“As we've had the opportunity to review the operations of the department, we have decided that it does warrant a full-time superintendent, solely devoted to all functions related to a successful election process," Hall County Administrator Jock Connell said in a Friday announcement.
Smiley said the board would work toward a smooth transition with the hiring of a new superintendent. The county hopes to fill the position “sooner rather than later,” Smiley said.
The office has a busy few years ahead of it. This year, Georgia has a gubernatorial election, the 9th District has its election this year, there are two open seats on the Hall County Board of Commissioners and municipal elections are scheduled.
In 2020, the office will help coordinate a presidential election and the next census, and in 2021 the U.S. Census Bureau will determine whether Hall County meets the conditions to be required to adopt bilingual ballots.
The opening for the superintendent position is posted at www.hallcounty.org/jobs. There’s no salary set for the position, according to Moats, who said pay will depend upon experience.
Smiley said the board was unanimous in its support for the position. Current board members include two Republicans, Ken Cochran and Craig Lutz, and two Democrats, Gala Sheats and Michelle Sanchez Jones.