The seven people who will interview for the Rutherford County administrator of elections job don’t include the two highest scorers on rankings compiled by the Human Resources Department.
The Rutherford County Election Commission voted Monday to select candidates MTSU Associate Athletic Director Alan Farley, Michaels Crafts operations manager John Womack Jr., County Commissioner Brad Turner, County Commissioner Steve Sandlin, Circuit Court Clerk Laura Bohling, Charles Tilton and Rutherford County Sheriff’s detention center commander Tommy Thompson for interviews next Monday at a 5 p.m. meeting.
Commissioners did not choose Randall Allen, an employer relations and career coach at Nashville Career Advancement Center in Murfreesboro, or Rebecca Elizabeth Harkins, previous director of Imagination Child Care and a former Lifepoint Hospitals employee, even though they netted 30 and 29 points in a ranking system used by HR to recommend finalists.
“I don’t think there was ever any intent of hiring the top-ranked people,” Commissioner Chairman Ransom Jones said after the meeting. He explained that the rating system merely helped the commission reach the point that it could choose people to interview.
Jones backed Thompson for an interview and he has also said he favors Farley for the post. The chairman said he interviewed Thompson for the job three years and felt he did an excellent job.
“I’ve said before Alan has unique qualifications,” Jones said. Among those, he served on the Election Commission for 10 years before resigning in 2002.
“He knows the system and pitfalls. He doesn’t have to stumble over mistakes again,” Jones said.
The hiring is necessary after commissioners voted July 7 to fire three-year Administrator of Elections Nicole Lester for failure to work regular office hours and for poor management that led to low morale in the Election Office. The position pays $92,640 a year based on the county’s population.
Farley, who netted 27 point on the HR grading scale, holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from MTSU and received high marks for administration, marketing, legal or office general and supervisory of 5-25 people.
Bohling, who received 24 points in the grading system, holds no college degree but is a certified public administrator. She received average scores in management, administration and supervisory experience.
The one-term Circuit Court clerk, who was defeated in the Republican primary, said she had no concerns with the process and noted that she had used the HR analysis previously to hire people.
“I just appreciate the opportunity to interview,” she said.
Tilton picked up 24 points and holds a bachelor of science degree but received low grades for administrative experience and budgetary work.
Sandlin, a Nissan technician who is not seeking re-election, received 22 points. He holds a high school diploma and attended MTSU and Motlow State for two years, and received only 1 point in education, along with administration experience, marketing and computer skills but picked up 4’s in instructional, budgetary and legal or general office.
Womack, who obtained 22 points, holds a master’s degree in business administration from Wright State University and obtained 4’s in managerial, legal or general office and computer skills but zeroes in administration and supervisory of small and large groups.
Thompson, who netted 21 points, holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from UT-Chattanooga and received 4 points in education, managerial, legal or office general and supervisory of 5-25 but zeroes for administration, instructional, marketing and supervisory of 26-100.
Turner, who picked up 20 points, holds a bachelor of arts degree and obtained 4 points in education and computer skills but received 3’s in managerial, instructional, marketing and legal of general office and zeroes in administration and supervisory of small and large groups.
Based on the job description posted, HR gave 4’s for degrees in political science and business administration but 1’s for degrees in irrelevant areas such as journalism.
CORRECTION: Julie Wilson, who made the list of 13 finalists, holds a bachelor’s degree in social work. A previous story erroneously said she did not have a degree.