The Long County board of commissioners made two decisions at its July 10 meeting that will affect future elections in the county.
The board selected Leah Taylor Hughes as the new elections supervisor and removed Nancy McKnew from the county’s board of elections.
After a lengthy discussion by commissioners and input from the Long County Board of Elections, Hughes was hired for the spot previously held by Larry Wells, who passed away in February. Though the commissioners selected Hughes, an employee in the county tax commissioner’s office, she was not the top candidate recommended by the board of elections. That board’s top three candidates were Hughes, Dedre LaRochester and Rhonda Gross, with LaRochester being its top-rated choice. First District Commissioner David Richardson made a motion to place LaRochester in the position, but the motion failed for failure of a second. Fourth District Commissioner Andy Fuller made the motion to hire Hughes, and 2nd District Commissioner Wallace Shaw seconded. This measure passed, 2-1. Fourth District Commissioner Clifton DeLoach and 5th District Commissioner Bobby Walker abstained due to being related to Hughes.
Also, the commission removed McKnew, who had been appointed to the board in October 2010, with reappointment contingent upon her getting her certification. According to Fuller, the commission made the decision for removal after discovering that McKnew had not obtained her certification.
“I’m the one who made the motion (for her to be reappointed), but that was all pending that she get certified,” Fuller said. “We just found out today that she hadn’t completed everything that she was supposed to, so she was removed.”
When the question of McKnew’s qualifications arose during the meeting, she said she made efforts to complete her requirements, but due to her not being able to locate a book required for the course, she was unable to get her certification.
“I’ve taken every course that was required by me to get certified, but a book that I needed came up missing, and we haven’t been able to find it,” McKnew said. “I’ve tried every way in the world to get it, but just haven’t been able to.”
Earlier in the meeting, McKnew claimed that board of elections Chairwoman Vanessa Cunningham was delaying while providing information to the commissioners on the elections supervisor candidates.
“I’ve been working with Vanessa, and a lot of the tasks we’ve been doing have been very tedious and detailed,” elections board member Mildred Hopkins said. “Ms. Nancy (McKnew) wasn’t up here working with us, so she doesn’t know what all has been going on. We were not delaying anything. We were only making sure we did a good job, and everything was done correctly.”
After the meeting, Cunningham had little to say on McKnew’s allegations.
“She puts out a lot of inaccurate information. That’s all I have to say on it,” Cunningham said.
In other business, the commissioners:
• approved budgets for the superior court ($11,538), public defenders ($79,333) and district attorney ($59,990) for the upcoming year.
• approved $1,612 to go toward the National Night Out, an anti-crime/drug awareness event being put on by the Ludowici Police Department on Aug. 7. The money will come from the Drug Awareness Tobacco and Fire Arms fund.
• approved a second bulletin board for the courthouse so that one board can provide legal information at the clerk of court’s office and the other can promote civic/public activities.