Elections board hires new assistant director
By Abbi Overfelt
LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Board of Elections has hired as its assistant elections director a county native who was welcomed into his new position with a trial by fire — but after four days on the job, seems to be coming through unscathed.
Michael Gilmore’s first day was Monday, also the first day of the two-week filing period for candidates who want to run in the May primary.
“I didn’t give him a chance to get his feet wet,” county elections director Dell Parker said Tuesday. “He hit the ground running.”
Gilmore’s appointment fills a position that has been vacant since the death of longtime assistant director Jerry Johnson on Aug. 26. It was filled temporarily during last year’s municipal elections by employee Lindsey Villela when Parker told the board that going through the process of hiring and training a new employee would be “a hindrance” during election season.
Tuesday, Parker said she was “very excited” to have a new assistant.
“I think the board has made a good choice,” Parker said, adding that she has been impressed with Gilmore’s ability to adapt to his new role. “… I will definitely make him good at what he does.”
Gilmore was chosen from about 50 applicants who submitted resumes from Jan. 7 to Jan. 17. Elections Board chair Hal Culberson called the decision “very unanimous.”
The board interviewed its top six candidates, chosen by experience. After the interviews, Culberson asked board secretary Richard Clancy and board member William L. Bullard to write down the name of their top two candidates. Gilmore’s name was on all of them, he said.
“He was a very energetic as far as his interview is concerned,” he said. “He was very outgoing as far as coming in and meeting us and he handled himself in a professional manner.”
Gilmore, a graduate of Scotland High School, has attended Sandhills Community College, Robeson Community College and Richmond Community College. He is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration. He spent seven years as a corrections officer at Scotland Correctional Institution, where he managed a housing unit as well as investigated inappropriate inmate conduct and made recommendations for disciplinary actions.
Most recently, Gilmore worked for a recycling company as an office assistant, where he helped to manage the company’s bookkeeping.
Gilmore believes his experience in customer service will lend favorably to his new position.
“Ms. Dell has made me very comfortable here. She’s very easy to get along with and I enjoy being here,” he said. “I was telling her yesterday that I don’t think I’ve been at a job where I’ve smiled this much.”
Family photos already litter Gilmore’s desk and a shelf behind it, showing the smiling faces of J.B. and Earleen Fowler, his grandparents and longtime East Laurinburg commissioners. His mother, Linda, works at McMillan Rentals and his father, Mike, is employed at Pilkington, a glass factory.
Gilmore said he’s ready to “serve the people in the tiny little place that has shaped who I am.”
Qualifications listed in the position’s posting ranged from a high school diploma with three years of experience to a four year college degree with a “major emphasis on business administration or a related field.” Job specifications include maintaining equipment, conducting training, performing clerical work and exercising “tact and courtesy” in dealings with candidates, party representatives and the general public.
Gilmore will earn an annual salary of $25,668.
“We’re looking forward to working with him,” Culberson said. “We think he will be a good addition for our director and our board.”
Abbi Overfelt can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 12. Follow her on Twitter @aoinscotco.
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