Weatherford Democrat


June 11, 2014

Details released on elections administrator applicants


The Parker County Attorney’s office Monday released the resumes and applications of all candidates for the position of Parker County Elections Administrator, a post unexpectedly vacated by Robert Parten last month, a day after meeting with the Parker County Elections Commission.

Last week the Elections Commission voted to recommend Don Markum to Parker County commissioners as Parten’s replacement, then found the commission — not the court — was responsible for the appointment. A commission meeting set for June 9, slated to adopt an order appointing an elections administrator and expected to make Markum’s appointment official, was cancelled for lack of a quorum.

Co-founder and director of the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship, where he has been employed since 2006, Markum is one of six applicants for the position of elections administrator. The list also includes Assistant Elections Administrator Laura Coffee-Watkins, who has served in her position since 2008.

Other applicants are Paula Durant, administrative assistant to the county clerk; Clarence Thompson, who served as research coordinator for Parker County Precinct 4; Linda Clark, employed by Red Lobster as a bartender; and Patricia Berry, a warehouse manager for the City of Weatherford.

According to his resume, in his current post Markum has directed a staff of eight commissioners, 50 athletic directors and 250 coaches statewide, written and administered league rules, reviewed and followed state regulations for private schools, developed and administered the budget for the Texas league and negotiated and executed contracts.  

He served as a teacher and coach from 1998 to 2009 at Aledo Christian School and Hill Private School in Fort Worth.

Markum listed some education at Criswell College and Tarrant County Junior College and graduation from C.F. Brewer High School.

He reported serving as a Parker County election worker for over nine years.

He is the husband of Evon Markum, Senior Vice President of Marketing at First National Bank.

Markum included six letters of recommendation from prominent members of the Weatherford community with his application. Carolyn Hull Estes and Kathryn Thompson lauded his efforts on behalf of the Republican Party, while president and CEO of First National Bank Lin Bearden, where Markum is employed part-time, remarked on his sense of responsibility and thoroughness. Others recommending Markum were Gail Fowler, president and CEO of Careity Foundation Lyn Walsh and Beverly Branch, CEO of Dromeo Inc.

Coffee-Watkins lists some college in Weatherford and graduation from Mineral Wells High School as her education.

She served as Chief Deputy County Clerk for Palo Pinto County from 2002 to 2008 before assuming her current position as assistant elections administrator for Parker County.

According to her resume, Coffee-Watkins has assisted in implementing all aspects of services and delivery of all federal, state, county and local elections, managed the payroll and departmental annual budgeting, and managed all records for past elections, candidate filings, voter registration and redistricting. Her duties have included equipment inventory and maintenance and the training of all election workers and judges.

She claims expert knowledge of the Statewide Voter Registration System, the Hart Voting System, the elections administrators poll book system and the American Fact Finder System, used by the U.S. Census Bureau for redistricting.

Coffee-Watkins submitted 14 letters of recommendation, primarily from county, school and city officials she has worked with during elections.

The recommenders include Ken Trethewey, account executive for Hart InterCivic, who noted her knowledge of technical systems and Texas election law; and Lannie Noble, Wise County Election Administrator and president of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators, who said Coffee-Watkin’s knowledge of the election/voter processes helped with the growth and success of his office.

 Other recommenders were: Judith Evans, Palo Pinto County Elections Administrator; Johnie Herbert, president of Parker County ESD 7; R. Ann Grace, business office administrative assistant, Aledo ISD; Darlene Pennington, secretary to the superintendent, Springtown ISD; Marion Ferguson, superintendent of Garner ISD; Connie Wiese, administrative assistant for Millsap ISD, Monica Miller, Director of Finance for Azle ISD, Norma Zenk, city secretary for the City of Azle; Debby Riebe, administrative assistant to the superintendent, Weatherford ISD; Jihanna Bogan, city secretary for the City of Springtown; Malinda Nowell, city secretary for the City of Weatherford; and David Nicklas, Palo Pinto County Judge.

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