By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer
State Election Board officials accepted the resignation of Muskogee County Election Board Secretary Bill Bull Friday during a special meeting and confirmed the appointment of his successor.
Kelly Beach, who was nominated by Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, to succeed Bull, is expected to begin his new job Monday. His first task will be to re-staff the office, which was left nearly empty after Assistant Secretary Ellen Thames retired Monday.
Rhonda Bemo, one of three full-time staffers, left this week to take a job with the Muskogee County Clerk’s Office. Shelia Crutcher will be the local election board’s only full-time employee when Beach takes over Monday.
“I did learn that this week,” Beach said about the staffing situation. “I don’t have any plans at this point, but I hope to know more about this Monday or next week — the sooner the better.”
With elections scheduled in February, March and April, Beach said he “suspects he may be working some late nights.” But Beach said he is “up for the job.”
“It will smooth out — like anything there will be bumps in the road and challenges to be met,” Beach said. “I am up to meeting those challenges and getting things working smoothly.”
Beach said he was contacted by David late Dec. 27 about his possible appointment to a job that pays nearly $38,000 a year — salaries for county election board secretaries are set by law commensurate with the number of registered voters.
Beach is a retired law enforcement officer. He worked eight years for the Muskogee Police Department before hiring on with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, where he worked 14 years. After his retirement, Beach spent some time working as a financial adviser. He also is a member of the Muskogee Urban Renewal Authority.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.