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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

New elections director hired

By William Kincaid
A local photographer was hired as the new director of the Mercer County Board of Elections during a meeting Monday morning.
Michael Lamm, 4319 Merrill Ave., Celina, was recommended by Democrat board members Betty Cook and Mark Uhlenhake to fill the director position.
Cook, Uhlenhake and Republican board member Toni Slusser unanimously approved the measure. Board member Owen Hall, a Republican, was absent.
Lamm is the own-
er of Mike Lamm Images and has worked as a photographer for various publications, including The Daily Standard from 1974 to 1990, according to his resume.
"Immediately, both my focus and the focus of the board of elections staff will be on the November election, which is just six weeks away," Lamm read from a pre-written statement at the meeting. "I would like to ensure the voters of Mercer County that we will work hard in order to ensure a smooth and accurate tabulation of votes."
Lamm, who has taken classes at Winona School of Photography, Chicago, and plans to graduate from Wright State University-Lake Campus in June with a major in liberal studies, has no experience working in a board of elections office.
Lamm said he is phasing out his photography business.
According to the salary policy adopted last week by board of elections members, Lamm will earn $28,500 a year, with a review at the end of six months and every year after.
Uhlenhake said he and Cook went through many resumes before deciding upon Lamm, who they feel has strong leadership and communication skills.
The two Democrats also recommended bumping interim board of elections Director Deb Sneddon back to clerk, which was unanimously approved. Because she has experience, Sneddon will earn $14 an hour.
Slusser recommended keeping Laura Bruns as deputy director, which was approved. She will earn $30,000 a year because she has experience.
"In light of the news of an appointment for director that will have no election experience, the Republican members feel that they have made the best choice in current deputy appointment," Slusser said in a statement issued to the newspaper. "I have great confidence in her and her abilities."
The two Democratic board members were in charge of hiring a director because the board of elections chairman is a Republican (Hall). Therefore, the two Republican members hire a deputy director.
Uhlenhake said Bruns and Sneddon did a wonderful job of coming to the plate during a difficult time.
"And we appreciate that," he said.
Slusser agreed.
Last month former Director Lynn Wylds and former Deputy Director Denise Fullenkamp were fired because of discrepancies made while canceling voter registrations. Board members temporarily replaced Wylds with Sneddon and Fullenkamp with Bruns.
Also during the meeting Monday, Slusser recommended appointing Emily Kaup, 515 N. Sugar St., Celina, as a clerk, a move that was unanimously approved by all board members.
Kaup, a 2009 graduate of Capital University who majored in radio/television/film and communications, has worked as the program director of WXCU in Columbus, where she managed the station and 30 employees.
She also was a producer and board operator at Clear Channel Lima Radio, where she produced live shows, and recipient of The Steve Esposito Professional Development Award for Outstanding Student Achievement in Communication Research.
Kaup will earn $12 an hour.
The board of elections will hold another meeting at 9 a.m. Monday in the auditorium of the Mercer County Courthouse.
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