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Forest Park council appoints elections head

FOREST PARK — Forest Park City Council members voted Monday night to appoint a woman relatively unknown to them to replace the elections superintendent they fired last month.

Councilwoman Maudie McCord said the woman, Charity Woods, lives outside the city but attended a recent council meeting.

“She sent her resume through email,” said McCord. “I don’t know her personally, I met her at the last meeting.”

Mayor Pro Tem Linda Lord, and council members Tommy Smith and Latresa Akins seemed surprised at the announcement. Lord and Smith said they wanted to meet her. However, Smith was willing to appoint her first.

“If we’re going to consider her, I think we should meet with her as soon as possible,” said Lord. “Obviously, she’s never held an election before and we don’t know how comfortable she’ll be in that position and how comfortable we’ll be with her in that position.”

Akins made the motion last month to fire Elections Superintendent Darnell Moorer, saying he was “too political” and publicly critical of Mayor David Lockhart. The position is part-time and pays $25 an hour, said city clerk and finance director Mike Blandenburg.

The city will hold an election in November but qualifying for three municipal seats starts Aug. 26. Absent an elections superintendent, Blandenburg assumes the responsibilities of the position.

Several residents wanted to know if the job had been advertised.

“How did you publicize for this position since you only have one applicant?” said Pamela Lake.

Lockhart said the position had not been advertised.

“As far as I know, we haven’t,” he said. “I asked council to find someone and they’ve been looking.”

Donna Barkley wanted to know why it hadn’t been advertised.

“Is there any reason why it can’t be shopped?” said Barkley. “If you shop it, you can interview other people. I think it should be advertised.”

Lord said the position isn’t generally posted because it’s a job that requires specific training. McCord said Woods is enrolled in a September class that will give her the education she needs to serve as elections superintendent.

McCord said Woods is a good candidate also because she has “no political ties to anyone in the city that I know of.”

Once the motion was made to appoint Woods, there was a delay in getting to a vote because Lord wanted the motion amended to allow for meeting Woods and setting salary before hiring her. No one seconded the amendment request so the motion remained simply appointing Woods.

Lord abstained but the motion carried.

“The money may not be what she’s willing to work for,” said Lord. “I don’t want to vote for it without having more information. If we’re going to vote, I think we need to meet her first.

Smith concurred somewhat but agreed to appoint her.

“I think we can put her in place to get her started and then meet with her,” he said.