The list of candidates for administrator of elections includes two Rutherford County commissioners, the Circuit Court clerk, a former election commissioner and a former newspaper editor.
The five-member Rutherford County Election Commission voted unanimously Monday to select candidates from 13 applicants who scored 20 or better on a rating system set up by Human Resources. In five business days, 39 people applied for the position, which pays more than $92,000 annually based on the county’s population.
Human Resources culled that list based on the job posting, which calls primarily for a college degree and management experience. Commissioners will convene again next Monday at 5 p.m. to pick finalists to be interviewed.
The move is necessary after commissioners fired three-year Administrator of Elections Nicole Lester last week for failure to work regular office hours and for poor management that led to low office morale.
The 13-person list is made up of:
- County Commissioner Steve Sandlin, who is not seeking re-election.
- County Commissioner Brad Turner.
- MTSU Associate Director of Athletics Alan Farley, who previously served on the commission for 10 years.
- Circuit Court Clerk Laura Bohling, who was defeated in the Republican primary.
- Mike Pirtle, former editor of The Daily News Journal and The Murfreesboro Post.
- Randall Kelley Allen.
- Thomas Taylor Davis.
- Whitney Kyle Dotson.
- Rebecca Elizabeth Harkins.
- Thomas Edward Thompson.
- Julie B. Wilson.
- John M. Womack Jr.
- Charles Tilton
Election Commissioner John Taylor pointed out that the commission had nothing to do with the list of applicants it received from Human Relations.
Commission Chairman Ransom Jones reiterated that he did not give input to HR and added, “I think we’ve got a good pool here. It shouldn’t be any problem selecting one.”
He previously told The Post he spoke with Farley after it became clear Lester would not be retained and that he would vote for Farley if he applied. He seemed more non-committal after seeing the list compiled by HR on Monday.
Each commissioner will pick two favorites at next week’s meeting to create a list for interviews. Taylor noted that some commissioners could overlap on their selections, reducing the number who would need to be interviewed for the position.
Commissioners also voted to make Election Office staff member Rhonda McFerrin the interim administrator until the position is filled permanently.