Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stinko Replaced by Pee-yoo!

"Stinko Replaced by Pee-yoo!"...was the title of a Black Box Voting Post on 3/29/07 that states about San Diego County:
(From BBV admin): Does it get worse than this? San Diego Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas was "promoted" (but will still manage the department he mismanaged); he will be replaced by an interim registrar, disgraced ex-Riverside Registrar Mischelle Townsend, who is credited as a "mentor" by Cuyahoga Director of Elections Michael Vu, who was recently terminated in connection with a rigged recount.

And just today Mischelle Townsend, announced about our highly less- than-competent and non-truth telling (CERP report, July, 06) Michael Vu has been appointed Assistant Registrar of Voters there.

She said:
Together with Mikel Haas, we are pleased to announce that effective today, Michael Vu, has been appointed Assistant Registrar of Voters for San Diego.

... He can be reached via e-mail to:

Prosecutors Mason and Baxter better keep THAT one on file so Vu can be subpoenaed back here to take his due for the destruction of lives, budgets, and elections he caused while here in Cuyahoga.

And I wonder if he expects Cuyahoga residents to keep paying him his approximate $11K/month for his Bennett-allowed sweet-deal "consultancy" for getting the heck out of our hair, through the end of June, and while he packs?

The BBV post on 3/29 went on to quote an article from North County Times - Mar 23, 2007, By: GIG CONAUGHTON

County looking for registrar ---- again

link to article

SAN DIEGO ---- The county of San Diego is looking for a new chief elections officer for the second time in as many years after county officials said Friday that current Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas is being promoted.

County spokesman Mike Workman said that the 49-year-old Haas, who has worked for the county for 13 years and served as registrar twice ---- from 1995 to 2001 before taking over as the county's director of animal services, and from 2005 to the present ---- was being promoted to take over as director of the county's Community Services Group.

Alex Martinez, the group's former director, retired last week.

In his new role, Haas ---- who was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment ---- will oversee the general management of not only the registrar of voters office, but also the departments of animal services, housing and community development, purchasing and contracting, and the county library system.

Workman said Haas' salary was still being negotiated. As registrar, Haas earned $145,000 a year. Martinez was earning $172,000 when he retired.

County Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard, who was also out of town Friday, issued a statement through Workman praising Haas, who had been something of a "troubleshooter" for the county during his 13 years.

For much of 2004, Haas served as a special consultant to Ekard on election matters, in addition to his duties in animal control. He also previously served as the county's interim head of housing and community development. Before working for the county, Haas also worked for a short time as a reporter for the Oceanside Blade-Tribune, a newspaper that was a predecessor of the North County Times.

"(Mikel) has been asked to fill several different roles over his career and done exemplary work," Ekard stated. "He is without a doubt a top-notch executive and has been a stellar manager for many years."

The big questions now facing the county, however, are how it will find a new registrar, and how difficult the search might be.

County officials readily admit that the registrar position has become an increasingly difficult, and often publicly criticized, job in recent years.

Ekard, speaking in 2005 when Haas began his second stint as county registrar, said, "Quite frankly, it's getting harder and harder to find somebody who wants to do this job, with the kind of scrutiny from disparate groups out there."

Elections officials jobs nationwide have become more high-profile with increased pressure from the federal government to improve outreach to minority non-English-speaking voters, and the switch by many counties to still-controversial electronic voting machines.

The electronic voting machine controversy has stung officials in San Diego County.

Haas resumed his role as registrar in 2005 when Sally McPherson ---- who replaced Haas in 2001 ---- retired after 32 years with the county that featured a sometimes rocky final 18 months.

Anti-electronic voting groups sharply and publicly criticized McPherson as she helped San Diego County move from old paper-ballot systems to electronic voting machines.

That switch was marred by a debut in March 2004 that saw electronic "glitches" cause 36 percent of the county's polling places to open late.

Haas' first elections with electronic machines, meanwhile, last November, ran more smoothly. But Haas was also the target of electronic-voting critics who unsuccessfully sued the county to force it to stock enough paper ballots at polling places to serve the county's 1.3 million voters.

Workman said Friday that the county planned to immediately begin a nationwide search for a new registrar. However, he also said that the county tentatively planned to hire a "recently retired" registrar who could serve as an interim registrar while the county conducted its search.

Former Riverside County Registrar Mischelle Townsend ---- who helped introduce one of the first electronic voting systems in the state in Riverside ---- retired in 2004.

Attempts to reach Townsend on Friday were unsuccessful.

Workman said that Ekard and Haas planned to sit down together next week to begin talking about how his transition to community services would be done, and to finalize salary negotiations.

If this weren't so dangerously true about this nation's very urgently needed fair, transparent elections systems, it would be the makings of a "Real-TV: The Comedy."

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