Gates County Elections Director resigns

Published 10:03 am Saturday, March 6, 2010

GATESVILLE – The Gates County Board of Elections is shopping for a new director.

Virginia Moore has left the position vacant after submitting her resignation, one that was effective Feb. 26.

According to protocol, the local Board of Elections is required to post the vacancy and begin the process to accept applications for the position.

“The county’s Board of Elections will interview the candidates applying for the opening and, by majority vote in an open meeting, select the next director,” said Johnnie McLean, Deputy Director of the North Carolina Board of Elections, speaking by telephone to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

McLean added that the local board is required to submit the name of the new director to the State Board.

“However, it is not up to the state board to select the new director…the law provides for that selection to be made at the county level and for that selection to be made with the state board being provided with the name of the person selected.”

The Gates County Board of Elections has officially posted the vacancy. They are accepting applications until March 19.

Meanwhile, Moore told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald of the reason she was leaving.

In an e-mail, Moore stated, “Since the OSHA repairs and the sewage problems in the building, I have been sick. I have tried working with the county and there is no where to move the office. It is time to end the 10 years I have worked with the county for this reason. I really believe this was unfair treatment in the workplace as I believe my health conditions could be coming from these problems over the months.”

Moore was making reference to the November, 2008 closing of the building in which she worked, one that housed the local Board of Elections office and the Cooperative Extension Agency.

The closure came on the heels of an inspection conducted Nov. 5, 2008 by the NC Department of Labor. An OSHA inspector checked the building, but could not say conclusively either way if health problems were present, but Gates County Manager Toby Chappell opted to close the office until additional tests could be conducted. The Elections Office and Extension Agency temporarily moved to the Gates County Department of Social Services.

Further testing found asbestos and lead paint at the building. However, the associated health risks were deemed non-existent as an air quality test came back with a zero rating.

The asbestos situation (found on pipes under the building as well as a few other isolated spots) was taken care of immediately. The issue with removing the lead paint took a bit longer than originally anticipated. One interior window was found to be above the acceptable limit for lead paint and there were other instances of lead paint, but all were intact, meaning they posed no health risks, according to Chappell.

Additionally, the front two columns on the building’s entryway, the faade under the front porch and one front window contained lead paint that was not intact and was removed and repainted. The door casings were encapsulated (covered with vinyl).

The building re-opened in January of last year.

Two weeks ago, a test for mold at the same building was conducted by Albemarle Regional Health Services. The samples taken during that test were forwarded to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. In response, David Lipton of the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch made the following analysis…“There are no sources of water infiltration or mold growth in the building.”