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The Cumberland County Election Commission held its organizational meeting last week. From left are Lisa Phillips, secretary; Bob Austin; Linda Baehr-Caldwell, chairperson; Tim Claflin; and Jim A. Petty. Administrator Sharon York resigned her post last Thursday and the commissioned voted to take applications and consider an appointment to the post at a special-called meeting Thursday.

Cumberland County Administrator of Elections Sharon York resigned her position with the county election commission as of 4 p.m. Thursday, April 14.

The Cumberland County Election Commission met for a special-called meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday and received York's resignation via letter that was hand delivered by Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey. Carey delivered the letter to the election commission about five minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin.

Listed on the agenda for the special-called meeting was the organization and election of officers for the 2011-'13 term and the retention of the administrator of elections.

Upon receiving the letter, the election commissioners gathered briefly in the corner near their table and privately discussed what to do. Newly appointed election commissioner Jim Petty later explained they were unsure what to do since the retention of the election commissioner was on the agenda.

York wrote in her letter, "Today at 4 p.m. I will resign the position of administrator of elections in Cumberland County. Over the last two years, election commissioners Cal Smart, Denver Cole, Thomas Henderson and myself have accomplished many goals in an effort to instill transparency and fiscal responsibility to the election office in Cumberland County..."

York continues in writing that through their efforts they saved the taxpayers of Cumberland County 26 percent in election payroll alone, downsized staff in the office and utilized a website for the first time in the office to get quick returns on election night. York also states in her resignation letter to Mayor Carey that "We have made the election office more transparent for the taxpayers. Most importantly, we have held free, fair and honest elections for the people of Cumberland County."

York also states that she believes "public service is an honor and a privilege and I am honored to have been given the opportunity to serve Cumberland County in this capacity for the last two years. I would like to thank Cal Smart, Denver Cole and Thomas Henderson for giving me this opportunity."

Republican representatives Smart, Cole and Henderson were replaced as election commissioners last week by the state election commission with new representative commissioners Jim A. Petty, Linda Baehr-Caldwell and Tim Claflin.

York was initially appointed administrator of elections in 2009 during the first meeting of the 2009-'11 election commissioner's term. York replaced Suzanne Smith, who had served in the position for some 30 years.

York was later officially hired by the election commission after interviews of applicants were publicly made a few months later. Former election commissioners Smart, Cole and Henderson voted in favor of hiring York and Democrat representative election commissioners Bob Austin and Lisa Phillips voted against hiring York.

York was not in the election commission office Thursday and gave her resignation letter and keys to the election commission office to Cumberland County Mayor Carey prior to the meeting.

The election commission declared the position vacant and said it would accept applications for the position until noon Thursday, April 21. The commission will then hold a special-called meeting Thursday, April 21 to discuss the applicants and determine what will come next in the hiring process.

During Thursday's meeting, the commission also elected officers. Serving as chairperson for the 2011-'13 term will be Linda Baehr-Caldwell. Serving as Secretary will be Lisa Phillips.

Baehr-Caldwell said, "I'm excited about this new term and I know we will all get along very well. I'm looking forward to all of us working together."

The group also decided to hold its regular monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m.

 

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