Richland Cop. election director search committee finalized

dhinshaw@thestate.com January 19, 2013 

— Appointments have been finalized for a four-member search committee that will identify top candidates for a new election director in Richland County.

The search committee, formed by the Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, consists of:

•  Jimmy Bales, a longtime legislator from Eastover, who was appointed by Sen. Darrell Jackson, the chairman of the county legislative delegation. Bales is a retired educator.

•  Sue Berkowitz, a Columbia lawyer and director of the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center. She was appointed by the election board to represent citizens.

•  Norman Jackson, who has served on Richland County Council since 2007. He is a highway planner who lives in southeast Columbia, off Leesburg Road. He was appointed by the chairman of County Council, Kelvin Washington.

•  Herbert Sims, a longtime poll worker and the newest member of the election board. Sims, who is retired from state government, lives in Hopkins. He is the board’s representative on the committee.

Sims will serve as chairman of the search committee. Efforts to reach him Friday were unsuccessful, so it was not known when the committee might get to work.

Steve Hamm, the board’s lawyer, said the committee was charged with recruiting and evaluating candidates for the new elections director. He would expect the group to present the top two or three candidates to the board for consideration, he said.

Hamm also said he would expect the committee to suggest a salary for the job.

Berkowitz said she’s looking forward to getting to work.

Since a brief article reporting that she’d been named to the committee, she said, people have been stopping her to talk about the Nov. 6 election fiasco that forced election director Lillian McBride to step down.

“I think they really want to be assured it’s a serious process, with thoughtfulness, and I look forward to making sure that’s how we’re going to go forward,” she said.

Berkowitz said it will take work to develop a search process and decide what’s needed in a new director.

Reach Hinshaw at (803) 771-8641.

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