A major change will soon be taking place within the Dyer County Election Commission after it was recently announced that Administrator Jane Heathcott would be retiring on Dec. 31 of this year.
Chairman Joe Enoch made the announcement during this week's election commission meeting with Heathcott sitting by his side. The longtime administrator has been with the election commission since 1970. She became the administrator in 1971 and has held the position since then.
"I regret she has made this decision, but if that is her wish, obviously we have to abide by that wish," said Enoch.
Heathcott told the State Gazette her decision to retire was based on wanting to spend more time with her family.
Heathcott was recognized last month at a Tennessee Association of County Election Officials (TACEO) meeting and was presented an award for her 40 years in the election business and being involved with TACEO. Enoch stated she received a standing ovation from the officials there and the recognition was highly deserved. Commissioner Jerry Jackson returned the same sentiments.
"Everybody in the state recognizes she's the one that is there behind the scenes for every meeting that's done, whether it's West Tennessee or statewide and she did deserve the recognition," said Jackson.
So what is the commission's process in seeking a replacement for Heathcott?
"We have very capable people here in the (election) office, but we must open it up to the public," said Enoch.
The commissioners agreed to develop an application and have applicants turn one in with their resume. Jackson said they needed to take precautions in what they ask people on applications.
Whoever the commission decides will get the job would not immediately become Dyer County Election Commission administrator. However, Enoch said their job title would be administrator trainee.
"I told (Heathcott) this is not a job where we can hire somebody and they report to duty on Jan. 2," said Enoch. "This person has to come in and demonstrate they can do it before we give them a title."
Heathcott said the person must become certified before they can be named administrator and that involves learning the whole book on Tennessee election law and passing the certification test.
The commissioners also agreed they would need to watch their budget if someone from outside the office was hired as administrator trainee.
Enoch stated that those wishing to apply for the position of administrator trainee could pick up applications from the Dyer County Election Commission's office located downtown. Applications and resumes will be accepted from July 15 to Aug. 15. Both the completed application and the applicant's resume must be mailed to:
PO Box 547
Dyersburg, TN 38024