BISBEE — The search for a new Cochise County elections director is on.
Cochise County Human Resources has published an employment notice for an elections director with a pay scale from $80,000 to $91,152 annually, plus benefits, and a very long list of duties.
The ad lists County Recorder David Stevens as having “limited supervision” of the position.
Last month, Board of Supervisors members Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd handed over most election duties to Stevens following the resignation of former Elections Director Lisa Marra, who endured harassment from the public when she refused to participate in a last-minute request for a hand count of 2022 election ballots.
Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes recently hired Marra as the state deputy elections director. She has not responded to requests to speak with her on her new position.
Supervisor Ann English has stayed consistent in her disapproval of the actions of Crosby and Judd on the hand count, a suit against Marra of which she had no knowledge, and the decision to delegate election oversight authority to Stevens.
The proposal to perform a hand count of 100% of the ballots cast at vote centers resulted in a lawsuit from voter Stephani Stevenson and the Arizona chapter of the Alliance of Retired Americans. The hand count was stopped by Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley, who oversaw a hearing, but now the case is in the hands of the Arizona Court of Appeals.
After Marra refused to participate in the hand count, Crosby and Judd decided to shift some of the elections director’s duties to Stevens, who is a friend of former state representative and candidate for the Secretary of State’s office Mark Finchem.
Their latest move has resulted in yet another lawsuit, this time from Attorney General Kris Mayes, who argues the supervisors cannot delegate the election duties statutorily prescribed to them to the county recorder. A court date has not been set yet.
With an election in May, which seeks voter approval to form a jail district just a month away, Stevens may end up running the mail-in only election in his new role as overseer of county elections.
Election director position
The position requires “professional level project planning in all functions related to the conduct of voting and election activities for the county” along with the ability to “perform work of considerable difficulty to plan, organize, coordinate, direct and control all activities of the Elections and Special Districts Department in compliance with statutory and regulatory federal and state requirements," according to the posting for the position.
The duties also include “the preparation and management of the annual fiscal budget for the department, developing long-range plans and identifying long-term organizational needs.” The director will be responsible for "fraud prevention, detection and deterrence.”
Candidates should have extensive knowledge of election laws and procedures, computerized information systems, data management, data validation, systems testing and electronic file transfers and management and storage.
Skills are required in “administering and managing a comprehensive elections program in a public-sector setting, organizing and managing complex operations, with superior attention to detail and skills in handling and managing details.”
Candidates should be familiar with “computer databases and complex computer systems and applications, as well as able to analyze complex administrative and organizational problems and performing effective problem-solving.