Sunday, July 14, 2024

Commission chooses new elections director


The five-member Hood County Elections Commission voted unanimously Friday afternoon to offer the job of elections administrator to Stephanie Cooper, who currently works as interim elections director for the Pinal County Elections Department in Arizona.

Cooper was one of six applicants considered for the job.

Ten people applied, but four asked that their names be withdrawn from consideration. Two of the four accepted other jobs, according to County Judge Ron Massingill, who serves on the Elections Commission along with Tax Assessor-Collector Andrea Ferguson, County Clerk Katie Lang, Republican Party Chair David Fischer, and Democratic Party Chair Adrienne Martin.

If Cooper accepts the job, she will fill the void left by Michele Carew, who resigned.

The commission went into closed session to consider the applicants shortly after Massingill opened the meeting at 1 p.m. The group conferred behind closed doors for about an hour and a half before reconvening and voting in favor of Martin’s motion to hire Cooper.

Fischer made a motion to offer the job to applicant Karen Barlow if Cooper declines the position. Lang seconded that motion, and Ferguson and Massingill voted in agreement.

Martin abstained but said she did so because she would like for the group to meet again if Cooper declines the job offer.

Barlow is self employed and has worked as a poll worker and alternate judge for Tarrant County for five years. According to her application, she has also served as a poll worker in Hood County.

Cooper has requested a starting salary of $70,000. At her current job, she is earning $81,000 per year, according to her application.

Carew’s salary for the current fiscal year was $62,066.

The Commissioners Court will discuss the salary for the elections administrator at its regular meeting Tuesday (Nov. 23).

The Elections Commission has the authority to hire, fire and discipline an elections administrator but the Commissioners Court determines that person’s salary and the budget for the elections department.

Massingill serves on both panels.