Editor's note: This article was last updated Oct. 8 at 7:26 p.m.

BEAUFORT — Board of Elections Interim Deputy Director Shawne Southard and Chairman Rick Heal both turned in resignations last week.

Ms. Southard, a county staffer, confirmed Monday Mr. Heal resigned Oct. 2 at noon, effective immediately. She turned her own resignation in Friday and will officially leave her post Friday, Oct. 18.

Ms. Southard did not give a specific reason for her resignation, but said “I am the sixth person to leave this office in a year and a half, if that tells you anything.”

Mr. Heal could not be reached for comment.

Per state statute, Mr. Heal’s replacement must be a Democrat appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper. Board member Amy Holland, also a Democrat, said as of Tuesday, two names had been sent to Carteret County Democratic Party Chairman Dennis Litalien, who will pass on the recommendations to Gov. Cooper for final appointment.

“We can operate as four members because that’s a quorum, but we absolutely need a chairman,” Ms. Holland said.

Vice Chairman Jeanette Deese will conduct meetings until a new chair is named.

State statutes regarding the makeup of boards of elections have undergone major changes in recent years. Previously, boards were comprised of three members, but they now are required to have five members ­­– three from the ruling governor’s party and two from the opposing party.

Mr. Heal was sworn in as chairman in early March.

“He has been a great public servant and did a good job as chairman,” Ms. Holland said. “I’m sad to see him go.”

The County BOE office has also seen changes recently in the form of staff turnover. In May 2018, three staff members announced their resignations or retirements, including then-Director Sharon Lewis and Deputy Director Katie Muns. After a months-long search, Ms. Lewis’ replacement, Steve Hines, resigned March 29 after less than a year on the job.

Ms. Southard has served as interim deputy director since Mr. Hines’ departure. Margot Burke serves as interim director of the office.

The BOE will meet for a closed session Wednesday to discuss the recent resignations, and the next open session is Tuesday, Oct. 15 to discuss absentee ballots.

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

 

(Previous report)

BEAUFORT — Board of Elections Interim Deputy Director Shawne Southard and Chairman Rick Heal both turned in resignations last week.

Ms. Southard, a staffer, confirmed Monday Mr. Heal resigned Oct. 2 at noon, effective immediately. She turned her resignation in Oct. 4 and will officially leave her post Friday, Oct. 18.

Ms. Southard did not give a specific reason for her resignation, but said “I am the sixth person to leave this office in a year and a half, if that tells you anything.”

Mr. Heal could not be reached for comment.

The BOE will meet for a closed session Wednesday, and the next open session is Monday, Oct. 14 to discuss absentee ballots. Ms. Southard said she does not know where the BOE is in the process to select a new chairman, retain a new board member and hire a new deputy director.

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

(2) comments

David Collins

I must say that this article is certainly cloaked in drama. Wide open for speculation, for sure. Could use a whistle blower here? Don’t we?


jackieray

This comment “I am the sixth person to leave this office in a year and a half, if that tells you anything.” should have the local paper digging into who has been on the BOE board during this entire time. What is happening to cause a mass exodus ? Should the state BOE replace the whole lot of them? Can we have a real investigation?


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.