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The director of the Auglaize County Elections Board announced Wednesday plans to retire at the end of July.
Effective Aug. 1, Carolyn Campbell said she will be leaving the position she has held overseeing county elections for the last seven years.
In a resignation letter, Campbell said while she looks forward to her retirement, she will miss working with everyone. Specifically mentioning Deputy Director Peg Matheny and clerk Josie Schaub, Campbell said they have been loyal, hard working members of her team, and she is sure they will be an asset to whomever replaces her.
She said it was also great to know that board members were always available when the need arose.
“I appreciate the help and support provided me during my tenure with the board,” wrote Campbell, who served as a poll worker for 20 years before she was hired as director.
She said when she hears the bad things going on with other boards, she appreciates how fortunate she has been here, including board members who not only put in the time, but put in the physical labor needed to pack up machines without having to pay for the work to be done.
Campbell offered any assistance needed during the transition, even after she retires.
Almost immediately, Elections Board members got to work looking for a replacement, deciding on timelines and job descriptions for posting the opening.
Two of the main requirements of the job are that whoever is hired into the office be a Democrat and from Auglaize County, even if employees’ roles were switched around once Campbell leaves. It is required that the Elections Board director and deputy director be from opposite parties.
Matheny is a Republican. Elections Board employees also must reside in the county, although someone could move into the county and take the position.
“It really limits the pool,” Campbell said of the two main criteria.
Minimum qualifications set by the Secretary of State’s Office for the job also require a high school diploma or equivalent, although college level experience is desired as well as a baseline understanding of rules, processes, procedures and equipment used in local elections.
The position also requires general managerial experience and skills, and successful completion of a criminal background check.
County election boards also are to develop job descriptions and evaluation criteria based upon minimums directed by the state. Priority is to be given to candidates holding previous elections administration experience.
Board members planned to advertise the job in local newspapers, on the county and state website and to discuss the opening with the Auglaize County Democratic Central Committee, which may know of some possible candidates. Some job applications also remain in Campbell’s desk from before she was hired for the position.
Board member Mary Dee Malueg suggested drafting up something right away and reminded fellow board members that a background check could take some time.
“We don’t want to put this off,” Malueg said.
Campbell, who turns 64 in July, said when contemplating when to make the move, she decided on this summer so the new director could get a jump start on the November election and have the experience before time to conduct an election expecting larger voter turnout.
“I kicked it around a lot, when would be the best time to go, and it seemed to make more sense now,” said Campbell, who joked that she had started a book for her replacement entitled, “Everything You Need to Know…”
Board member Brent Henschen said he hated to see Campbell go, but he appreciated her doing so in an off year. He also advised her that even if it is something that seems simple, to add it to that book of information she’s compiling.
“I have had a full-time job for 45 years, I think it’s time,” said Campbell, who took the job as director of the Elections Board after retiring from her position as a transport logistics analyst at Marathon Oil, in Lima, after more than 30 years in 2006.
“I knew I wasn’t going to do another federal (election),” Campbell said. “Last fall got too political for me. I thought about staying through the end of the year, but this gives the new person time to gear up for an election.”
As for her plans after retirement, Campbell said she is receiving daily updates from her 6-year-old granddaughter, Molly, about what she wants to do, starting with a camping trip to the Smoky Mountains in October.
The grandmother of eight plans to spend more time traveling to see her grandchildren, who are scattered throughout the country.
“It’s been a lot of fun and very interesting all the time,” Campbell said, sharing that changes since she took the job have been phenomenal. “With security and everything, it will be a challenge for the next person.”