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Friday, May 28th, 2010

Elections board unanimously picks director

By William Kincaid
What could have been a confrontation and standoff, turned out to be an amicable and unanimous recommendation of Deb Sneddon as the new director of the Mercer County Board of Elections.
At a brief special meeting this morning to elect a new director to replace Mike Lamm, board member and Democrat Mark Uhlenhake made a recommendation to appoint Sneddon, the board of elections' office clerk and Democrat from Celina.
The motion was seconded by Republican board member Toni Slusser before being unanimously approved by Uhlenhake, fellow Democrat Betty Cook, Slusser and fellow Republican Owen Hall.
According to Ohio Board of Elections requirements, the board chairman and director must have different political party affiliations.
Hall is board chairman so the Democrats were first to make a recommendation. The Republican members did not make a recommendation, as they previously indicated they may if they felt the Democrat board members' recommendation was not qualified.
"We're very happy that we were able to find somebody (meeting the qualifications)," Uhlenhake said after recommending Sneddon. "I think we met the secretary's (of state) criteria."
Uhlenhake said Sneddon is a very dedicated individual with much experience in the board of elections office who, by all accounts, gets along very well with everyone there.
"I was very impressed with her at the last election, (she was) very hands-on," he added.
Sneddon thanked board members for their confidence in her and said she looks forward to challenges and issues to be dealt with as director.
"I think we have a great staff here," she said.
Sneddon was selected over 22 other candidates.
In addition to serving as office clerk since December 2008, Sneddon briefly was appointed as the board of elections' director from August to September 2009 before Lamm was hired.
In the past, she also was a corrections officer at the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, manager of Niekamp Farm Market and restaurant manager at various establishments, according to her resume.
Sneddon's pay will be established at a later date.
Slusser recommended that Sneddon earn $30,000 because of her experience in the office.
Uhlenhake agreed that the issue should be discussed at a later meeting.
The board now will need to hire an office clerk.
"At this point, we can't make a recommendation to the board," Uhlenhake said.
"At this time, we're OK with having one clerk," deputy director Laura Bruns, a Republican, said.
Sneddon will replace Lamm, who submitted his formal resignation this morning. Just one day before the May 4 primary election Mike Lamm resigned as director, stating personal reasons, after just eight months on the job.
He decided to remain until a replacement was found, finishing his job today.
"Mike, I want to thank you for your service to the board of elections," Uhlenhake said.
"I think everyone concurs with that," Hall said.
The director serves at the pleasure of the board for a term of two years. He or she has dual functions, first as the board's chief administrator and then as an election official.
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