By JUDY SHERIDAN
After two-and-a-half hours in executive session, the Parker County Elections Commission voted 4-1 last week to appoint Weatherford resident Don Markum to the post of elections administrator, signing an order to that effect.
Voting in favor of the motion, made by Republican Party Chair Zan Prince, were Prince, Parker County Judge Mark Riley, County Clerk Jeane Brunson and County Tax Assessor-Collector Marjorie King.
Democratic Party Chair Penny McCool voted against.
“It is only after extensive interviews with the six individuals that I make the motion to make Don Markum our elections administrator based upon his qualifications, education, temperament and experience,” Prince said, “and it’s important that the best fit be put in that position.”
Brunson opposed Markum’s appointment June 16, causing a motion by Prince to fail 2-2, with Brunson and McCool voting against, Prince and Riley voting in favor and King absent.
At that time Brunson asked for fair consideration of Assistant County Clerk Paula Durant, who applied for the post later than the other five applicants and had not been invited to interview.
Durant did interview Monday, along with Assistant Elections Administrator Laura Watkins and Markum, who returned for a second time.
Markum, a former private school coach and founder of a Christian sports league, has volunteered as an elections worker for nine years.
After thanking the commission for all the interviews, Brunson said she had been gathering information “from several different groups and organizations.”
“I want everyone to know this is not an easy decision for many reasons,” she said. “I’m voting from the information gathered from my experience as a past elections officer. I will vote with my heart and conscience.”
King also remarked on the difficult choice.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through,” she said. “Two members of this commission [King and Brunson] were promoted from within, and I think that served the citizens well. I’m not saying that’s what should happen here.”
Interviewed afterward, McCool said her concerns center around Markum’s political ties — as an active supporter of the Republican Party — and “the fact that Evon [Markum’s wife] works for Zan,” a director at First National Bank of Weatherford.
Evon is a senior vice president at the bank.
“The perception is that these strong women in his life are going to be an influence,” she said. “He interviewed impeccably, he speaks well and he says he will be an advocate for all people; we’ll see.”
The process appointing Markum has been an education for the public, Prince said.
“A lot of the public has really no knowledge of the elections process, and so they have had an education going through the process, understanding how the commission is formed and how we come together to administrate the duties of the elections commission,” she said. “It’s been an interesting educational experience for the public.”
The elections commission recommended Markum to the Parker County Commissioners’ Court as their candidate early on, then learned the commission itself needed to make the appointment.
Two other attempts to appoint him failed: one due to lack of a quorum and another due to a split vote.
Riley said Monday, June 30, would be an appropriate start time for the new elections administrator.
By JUDY SHERIDAN
- Aledo ExtrA
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