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Sides agree on curtailing coordinator’s duties

The Election Commission, county judge and county Republican leaders met Monday to pound out details of an agreement over how to handle the duties of the election coordinator who also is a candidate for office.

Jeff Hall, the county’s election coordinator, is running for county clerk as a Democrat.

“There’s practically nothing he does that could interfere with the election,” said Election Commission Chairman Stephen James.

But, to eliminate even the appearance of impropriety it was decided Monday that Hall would change offices to one at least 100 feet away from the early voting site; he would not code election ballots; and will not handle, process or distribute ballots of any kind.

Commissioners said modern voting machines are tamper proof, but they wanted the public to know all precautions have been taken. They also made clear they believe Hall is above reproach, and that he has a right to run for office.

Earlier at the meeting, Johnny Rhoda, a regional Republican leader, had mentioned re-assigning Hall altogether. “He is not an elected official and can be re-assigned,” Rhoda said. “Give him a shovel and put him on the road crew.”

Rhoda later backed off that suggestion and said he was satisfied with the agreement.

Former Election Coordinator Al Briggs has agreed to step in and fulfill any duties Hall cannot carry out. The county will pay Briggs $595 for his work.

The Election Commission members are James, Bob Patterson and Jim Kirkendoll.

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