Jamison's staff draws praise; clerk doesn't

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There is no relief for J.J. Jamison, Teller County's embattled clerk and recorder.

Sanctioned by the Secretary of State in August for inefficiencies prior to the primary election in June, Jamison was forced to relinquish her responsibilities to a representative from the Secretary's office, Al Davidson.

Last month Davidson issued a report praising Jamison's staff for contributing to the success of the general election. However, the report was glaring in its lack of praise for Jamison.

“My focus was on leaving the staff in a position to conduct successful future elections; however, I spent little time with the Clerk and Recorder, so whatever issues were there before, probably remain,” Davidson writes.

Reacting to Davidson's assessment of the election, commission chair Jim Ignatius was blunt. “While I am extremely proud of the accuracy and outcome of this election especially the staff we hired in Al (Davidson) and Deb (Silva) as well as the extremely dedicated staff with Krystal Brown, Stephanie Fisher and all the support staff from various departments, I am very disappointed in our Clerk's continued lack of abilities as is mentioned and witnessed once again, throughout the process,” Ignatius writes in an email.

Jamison's inefficiencies came to light when her office failed to include a signature line and affidavit on the mail-in ballot envelopes for the primary in June. Subsequently, the county incurred additional expenses to pay the salaries of Davidson and Silva.

“This has cost the taxpayers of Teller County about $225,000 for this year's election which is approximately $143,000 more than it should have and the bills are still coming in,” Ignatius writes.

In bullet points, Davidson offered assurance for future elections in Teller County:

● I believe the staff is fully capable of carrying out the elections that will occur in 2013 and 2014.

●I will be preparing an after-action report that will detail some changes I think should happen. This may be several weeks in the making but I will submit it to the board of commissioners when it is complete.

● I am leaving all of the documents and records that we created for the staff to use.

●I have recommended that they schedule regular staff exercises that are a form of mock elections, so that forms, procedures, etc., can be tested and improved.

●I have found the staff eager to learn and participate. I believe Stephanie Fisher and Krystal Brown now have an excellent concept of what goes into a successful election.

●This election was not a good model for that, as we started months later than we should have to prepare; however, I have discussed with Stephanie and Krystal those issues that should be taken care of early on in the election year.

●Special mention goes to Deb Silva, who came in with expertise on the SCORE statewide voter registration system, which forms the backbone of determining voter eligibility. She was invaluable and we could not have succeeded without her knowledge and efforts.

●As a final comment, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as manager of elections for Teller County and I appreciate the assistance and support given me by the Board of Commissioners, county administrator and other county staff.

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