Decision on Forsyth County elections director expected soon

Forsyth County Board of Election members Fleming Al-Amin (from left), chairman Ken Raymond and Stuart Russell vote to pass a voting plan that includes Sunday voting, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (David Rolfe/Journal)

Forsyth County Board of Election members Fleming Al-Amin (from left), chairman Ken Raymond and Stuart Russell vote to pass a voting plan that includes Sunday voting, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (David Rolfe/Journal)

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — The Forsyth County Board of Elections appears to be on the verge of selecting a new elections director, but board members have provided conflicting reports about how soon that will happen, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Board member Fleming El-Amin said Thursday night that the board is going to make an “announcement about the new leadership” on Monday.

When asked early Friday by email if the board would be announcing its new director on Monday, Chairman Ken Raymond first replied, “Yes, we will.”

He then followed with another email eight minutes later: “Actually, we’re not announcing a new director. We’re simply discussing the next step.”

Raymond later said the answer changed because he misread the email.

Board secretary Stuart Russell wrote in an email: “I don’t know at this point and won’t know until the meeting starts on Monday.”

The board has advertised that it will meet Monday at 9 a.m. to hold a closed session. When it takes a vote, the board is expected to do so in open session.

Lonnie Albright, assistant county attorney, said in an email last week that he expected the board to meet again in closed session about the selection process and to make its selection in the near future at a date posted for an open session.

The board has been without a permanent elections director since Kim Strach, executive director of the N.C. Board of Elections, fired former Director Rob Coffman on Jan. 17 because of errors he made with a Tobaccoville Village Council recount.

The county board must submit its nomination to the state executive director, but state statute says that the state director “shall issue a letter of appointment of such nominee to the chairman of the county board of elections” within 10 days.

Monday or not, a decision on Forsyth County’s elections director is expected soon.

Last week the board interviewed by telephone the top three candidates for the position in a closed session.

Lamar Joyner, the county’s longtime deputy elections director, has been serving as the interim director since early February. Joyner and his office have gotten the county through a smooth primary and second primary.

The board advertised for the position twice — Feb. 11 through March 10 and again in April. Raymond said after the second posting that the board had decided to modify the job advertisement to make it more compelling.

The board first narrowed its field of 78 internal and external applicants to six top candidates. The board interviewed those candidates June 18.

Coffman’s salary was $91,249.60. The county pay plan shows a salary range of $66,102.40 to $107,432 for the director of elections position.

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