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DeKalb Elections Board to conduct national search for executive director, deputy

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DeKalb Elections Board to conduct national search for executive director, deputy

Former DeKalb Elections Director Erica Hamilton. CREDIT LASHAWN HUDSON / WABE

By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor

DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb County Elections Board formally accepted the resignation of director Erica Hamilton at a special called meeting on Oct. 7, announcing a national job search.

Twyla Hart is currently the interim director. She has a 20-year career with the DeKalb County Elections department.

Board Chair Dele Lowman Smith thanked Hart for being a responsive leader in her role as interim director.

“I just want to thank you for stepping in the gap for us. We know this is a busy time for us, as we go into yet another election cycle. And it’s not like you got to put down your other job responsibilities while you stepped into this one,” said Lowman Smith.

Hart replied, “Thank you, too. I appreciate the encouragement and the help you’ve given the department. I think we’re going to have a good election in November.”

Lowman Smith fulfilled her pledge for transparency by talking through the transition plan. The board will vote on the plan at the regular meeting, Oct. 14. She said Hart and the board agreed from the start, “we would not put her there and leave her in the role for months on end.”

“Being an interim is a challenging thing to step into for a variety of reasons. Being seen as a caretaker or placeholder does not always come with the level of decision-making authority and resources that having the job on a permanent basis does, but it comes with all the same scrutiny and expectations,” said Lowman Smith.

The board plans to hire an interim executive director and deputy director to oversee the executive and administrative functions of the department, while searching for permanent candidates.

A deputy director hire was recommended after the 2020 election cycle by National Vote at Home Institute but never reached consensus of the former board members, led by chair Sam Tillman and vice chair Baoky Vu.

By redefining management roles in the department, Lowman Smith said the executive director, deputy director and board will work more cooperatively.

Candidates for executive director will have experience working with a policy body, leadership skills, financial management and human resource management, said Lowman Smith. Candidates for deputy director will have expertise in elections management and logistics.

“The hope will be we will recruit for those positions simultaneously,” said Lowman Smith, who wants an executive director in place before the 2022 election.

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