Appointment disagreement

On Wednesday, Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto voted to appoint Matthew Snyder, former chair of the Watauga County GOP, as the next elections director for Watauga County.

Photo by Jesse Campbell.

Kathleen Campbell, the lone Democrat on the Watauga County Board of Elections, accused her Republican counterparts Wednesday evening of choosing the next elections director “behind closed doors” and without a search process.

Despite her claims, Chairman Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto outvoted Campbell 2-1 in selecting Matthew Snyder, the former chair of the Watauga County Republican Party, as the next director.

He will replace outgoing director Jane Ann Hodges, who announced her retirement earlier this year effective June.

Prior to the board’s vote, Campbell said she believed the decision was “fixed from the beginning” and hopes the N.C. State Board of Elections will overturn the board’s vote.

She further claimed the majority’s decision was made to turn the board of elections “into an arm” of the local Republican Party.

“This is a shame and inexcusable,” said Campbell prior to the official vote. “It appears Mr. Aceto and Mr. Eggers are still wanting to appoint a highly partisan person (Snyder) with no experience despite knowing he’s not qualified. I was thinking this was so because it is April Fools’ Day, but no such luck.”

Although she considers Snyder to be a “very nice man” Campbell said he has “no relevant experience” for the position of elections director as his professional background is in film production.

Furthering her concerns about Snyder was his lack of an established residency in Watauga County despite voting in a previous election, said Campbell.

He was living in New York City when he registered in Watauga County by using his parents’ address, Campbell claims.

Snyder told Campbell his knowledge of the board of elections and its processes came while serving as Republican Party chair.

“It has come to my attention that the (Watauga County) Republican Party from 2009 to the present has been fined from the state board of elections for continuing to file late (for campaign contributions),” said Campbell.

She further alleged the local Republican Party made reimbursements of “various amounts” to party officers with no explanation.

“One of these reimbursements was made to Snyder,” said Campbell.

Before listing her concerns about Snyder, however, Campbell said was interested in two other candidates she considered to be qualified for the position: Deborah Greene and Nancy Henry of Ashe County.

Of the nine people who applied for the position of elections director, Campbell said not one was interviewed by Eggers, who originally nominated Snyder at a previous meeting. She said Eggers had not talked to Snyder other than to see his resume.

Eggers denied this.

“I put his name out there, why would I call him back?” said Eggers.

Campbell said, however, that Aceto had met with Snyder about the job.

During the public comment period, Greene said she was not interviewed for the position other than Campbell and had a short exchange of phone calls with Aceto.

Greene said one of these calls occurred while Aceto was driving down the road and she considered the impromptu interview “highly unprofessional.”

Following the public comment period, but prior to the official vote, Aceto asked Greene why he would nominate anyone for the position of elections director that tried to remove him and Eggers from the board.

“Point taken,” said Greene from her seat in the audience.

Aceto also said he did not feel Henry, who previously ran for county commissioner in Ashe, was the right fit for the position either especially considering she plans to retire within the next couple of years.

In regards to the board’s decision not to advertise the position at any level, Aceto explained he did not feel it was necessary and referenced the local media coverage of Hodges’ coming retirement and vacancy as an adequate announcement.

As the board adjourned, one audience member told them "you should be ashamed of yourselves."

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(11) comments

JohnnyO

"Cliven" is a racist and his comments do not deserve the respect of a direct response. All I'm going to say is that picking someone who has previously served as the chairman of a political party to what is supposed to be a NONPARTISAN position shows shocking levels of corruption. Eggers and Aceto either have absolutely no moral compass or they are just really, really stupid. Probably both.

They were given an important job, they are responsible for overseeing democracy in this county. But instead they are subverting democracy by any means necessary. It's disgustingly un-American.

Cliven

Good! As long as they have an "R" beside their name I don't care who they choose. TRUE Americans are sick of the liberal, "progressive" way of doing things that is tearing this Country apart. Perhaps you should have taken a hint after the last election last November. We are sick of you!! Go kiss hussein's picture and read your koran....

Ernest T Bass

Cliven - In case you don't know that "R" stands for regressive, repressive, repulsive and any number of other negative words that start with "R" and the nature and tone of your comments pretty much support my assertion. Just spew the hate out and get it out of your system. Have a good Easter! Jesus loves you in spite of who you are and what you say.

A concerned resident

"In regards to the board’s decision not to advertise the position at any level, Aceto explained he did not feel it was necessary and referenced the local media coverage of Hodges’ coming retirement and vacancy as an adequate announcement."

Clearly, the local Republicans are quite fond of working illegally to thwart the democratic process. The position was filled far outside of the proper procedures - and the Republican members of the board decided a former chair of the local Republican party would be the best choice to replace a hardworking, nonpartisan director. Shame on Eggers and Aceto! And shame on the Watauga Republican Party - who feels that the best way to win is to cheat, rather than allow voters their due process.

barkleydog

Well, "if ya can't beat em, cheat em!"

luckylou

Oh - and if you read the whole article to the bottom, I think you'll see the whole thing was illegal.... I know state positions have to be advertised publicly - and Aceto felt it didn't need to be??? Are you kidding me?? It isn't Mr. Aceto's right or within his purview as Char to make that decision. Since this is a governmental position - and our board answers to the state board - I believe we might have strong grounds for overturning it.... Come on folks - wake up - and speak up about this unethical approach to our election board. As I said - my comments are not partisan - I vote non-partisan in all elections.

luckylou

What a sham. And the worst thing is, the state could care less. I don't care if it is a Republican or a Democrat - I am a moderate voter - but I do care about how this took place. The state board should step in and declare this null and void and make them go through a proper search process. But I won't be holding my breath on that one. Eggers and Aceto should be ashamed, and should resign on this one - or be removed.

Lonnie Webster

I fail to comprehend, such a disregard for the tenants of a free society as shown by Mr. Eggers and Mr. Aceto or for that matter Mr Snyder for excepting the position of Watauga Board of Election Director. The Watauga County Republican leadership seems to be very uncomfortable with the democratic process of a free people. Appointing a Watauga County Board of Election Director who's fair, non partisan and highly qualified is just to much to ask of Mr. Aceto and Mr Eggers as that would be just too much Democracy in Watauga Cty NC. None of these appointed people seem to understand their lack of ethics or moral indictment of their actions, they evidently are following the directions of someone else and feel no need for personal responsibility for their actions. These same people will show up in the next July 4th parade waving a huge flag and shouting "God Bless America" as if they too believed representative government and free elections.

WatchBird


Maybe they will Indiana themselves! There seems to be an epidemic of it in the RepubliCon party, the party-over-country party.

Jeff Butts

Mr. Eggers and Mr. Aceto should be ashamed, but I think they've proven that they have no capacity for shame.

A concerned resident

Really? The former head of the Republican Party is to lead the board of elections? Chicago could learn a thing or two from Watauga Republicans…

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