Who are the Brooks County Board of Elections?

Who are the Brooks County Board of Elections, who don’t seem to know Georgia sunshine laws, and about whom election qualifying issues have been raised?

The man at the head of the table who was put on suspension by the board was Ken Collins, Election Supervisor, who has been in place for six months. According to the minutes of the 9 January 2012 Monthly Workshop and Regular Meeting of the Brooks County Board of Commissioners,

Commissioners present were: Mr. S. L. Jones, Chairman; Mr. Joe Wingate, Vice Chairman; Mr. James Maxwell; Mr. Howard Lawson, and Mr. Willie Cody. Others present were: Mr. Robert D. O’Barr, County Administrator; Ms. Patricia Williams, County Clerk; Mr. Vann Parrott, County Attorney; Mr. Mark Deatcher, Public Works Director; and various residents….

4. Election Supervisor – Emergency Selection

Due to an unforeseen illness, Mr. Johnny Spearman resigned as Brooks County Elections Supervisor which resulted in an emergency hiring of Mr. Kenneth Collins, previous applicant. Lowndes County Board of Elections has willingly offered their services for utilization during this transition due to time sensitivity with 2012 election events. Mr. Maxwell made the motion to hire Mr. Kenneth Collins as Brooks County Elections Supervisor, Mr. Lawson seconded. Vote was unanimous.

(That’s the most recent set of minutes listed on the Brooks County web page. Have the Brooks County Commissioners really not met since January?)

According to the Brooks County Commmissioners’ minutes of their Special Called Meeting of 13 July 2011:

On motion by Mr. Wingate, Board unanimously appointed Mr. Johnny Spearman as Elections Supervisor for Brooks County. Salary will be $32,000.00 annually.

OK, that’s the elections supervisor who resigned and was replaced by Ken Collins. But who are the Board of Elections?

According to the Brooks County Commmissioners’ minutes of their 29 July 2012 Monthly Workshop and Special Called Meeting (yes, really in the same file as minutes for the the 13 July meeting):

County Administrator asked Elections Supervisor, Mr. John C. Spearman, to present to Board what he is looking for in prospective Elections Board Members. First, Mr. Spearman wanted to thank Board for the opportunity to fill position of Elections Supervisor for the newly formed Brooks County Board of Elections and Registration.

A total of 15 applications were submitted for selection of three Election Board Members. One application was disqualified due to be related to an elected official, and one applicant withdrew his application. Mr. Spearman reviewed application and spoke with applicants; and presented his top three whom he felt would be qualified:

  • Janette Baker, Morven, GA
  • Nancy Duncan, Quitman, GA
  • Zurich Deshazior, Dixie, GA

Mr. Wingate made the motion to accept the top three applicants chosen by Elections Supervisor for Brooks County Board of Elections and Registration, Mr. Maxwell seconded. Vote was unanimous.

Nancy Duncan is the Board of Elections chair who wanted to know “What are you doing?” while George Rhynes was videoing her open meeting like any member of the public can do. Nancy Duncan who complained of feeling “picked apart” and “threatened” while Nancy Denard of the Quitman 10 was sitting in front of her: the Quitman 10 charged, removed from office, and still not given a speedy trial after more than a year.

Who was on the previous board? There wasn’t one. Elections were handled by some other county or state officer. The Probate Judge certified the July 2010 primary election, the election for which the Quitman 10 were charged.

The enabling legislation was HB 573, signed into law by the governor 20 April 2011. No doubt it was supposed to be an improvement.