, Muskogee, OK

December 30, 2012

Election official’s successor chosen

Nominee Kelly Beach is former law enforcer

By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Outgoing Muskogee County Election Board Secretary Bill Bull likely will be succeeded by a retired law enforcer.

Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, said Friday she will nominate Kelly Beach for appointment as the Muskogee County Election Board secretary. State election officials are expected to consider Beach’s appointment during a special meeting this week.

David said Beach was among about 10 people she considered.

Beach said he was contacted Thursday night about the 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.

“I have known about Kelly and everything he has done over the years, and his qualifications, I think, are impeccable,” David said. “My husband has known Kelly for many years through his work at the U.S. Marshal Service, and we have many mutual friends.”

Beach worked eight years for the Muskogee Police Department before hiring on with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. He worked 14 years with the OSBI before retiring from law enforcement and becoming a financial adviser.

Beach, unlike his predecessor, said he plans to be “a full-time employee.” Bull drew occasional criticism during his tenure for rarely showing up at the office.

“I don’t know how the office was run under him and haven’t been in a position to really know,” said Beach, who contributed $100 to Gov. Mary Fallin’s 2010 campaign. “I plan on being there and being a full-time employee and running the office with integrity — getting in and learning all about it and hopefully run an efficient office.”

David’s recommendation of Beach came in the wake of reports that she would nominate Brad Smythe for the position. Smythe worked during the late 1980s as the deputy director of Muskogee County’s Civil Defense Department and the county fire chief.

Smythe, according to articles in the Phoenix archives, resigned from his county jobs in 1990 after he allegedly misappropriated county property. Two years later, Smythe pleaded guilty to knowingly concealing and withholding stolen property.

Articles retrieved from the Phoenix files reported that Smythe was believed to have been involved with the theft of firefighter equipment from Oklahoma State University. Smythe received a two-year deferred sentence, meaning the charges would have been dismissed and expunged upon his completion of probation.

David confirmed that Smythe was on her list, but he withdrew during the vetting process.

“Brad was one of the finalists, but he withdrew his name from consideration,” David said. “He’s really a good guy, and I’m just sorry it didn’t work out for him.”

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or