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Board member questions Elections hire

A member of the McDuffie County Board of Elections is upset that he was not consulted when a new elections clerk was hired recently.

Nicole Woods was hired as a "floater" - an employee who will work in several different departments, including the Board of Elections office - a few weeks ago.

But Dexter Lovins - who represents the Republican Party on the Board of Elections - is questioning the hiring, saying board members should have been responsible for weeding through candidates and filling the position. Instead, that was left to County Manager Don Norton.

"There's going to be one heck of a stink," said Mr. Lovins, who twice got up to leave last week's called Board of Elections meeting, including one time to call County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton. "Phyllis has only been in office for a month and this crap is not going to start. The Republican Party is not going to stand for it."

He said his problem wasn't with the person hired, it was with the process.

"I don't have a problem with her," he said. "(Board of Elections members) are the ones who make a decision about who is hired."

But Elections Superintendent Phyllis Wheeler said she preferred having input in the hiring process in hopes of removing any personality conflicts with potential employees.

"When (Board of Elections members) vote, you are going to vote on who you want, not who I can work with," she said.

Board Chairman Bill Beckum said Ms. Wheeler notified him of the open position, and he agreed to let Mr. Norton take the lead in the hiring since the floater would also be filling in in the county commission office.

"You looked at it wrong, Bill," Mr. Lovins said.

Mr. Beckum said he would schedule a meeting with Mr. Newton and Mr. Norton to discuss the situation in the near future.

Web posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006

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