New Hanover County Board of Elections to induct new board members

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Elections board members Tannis Nelson, John Ferrante and Marlene Mitchell, from left, discuss the need for improved training for precinct officials with Director Marvin McFadyen during a workshop. Photo by Jonathan Spiers.
Former elections board members Tannis Nelson, John Ferrante and Marlene Mitchell, from left, discuss the need for improved training for precinct officials with Director Marvin McFadyen during a workshop. Port City Daily file photo.

The New Hanover County Board of Elections will welcome new board members at noon July 21.

The new board, which was appointed by the N.C. Board of Elections, will include Republicans Jamie S. Getty and Jonathan Washburn, and Democrat Thomas Pollard. Board members will serve a two-year term.

According to New Hanover County, the board will be responsible for conducting all federal, state and local elections held within the county. Other responsibilities include appointing all chief judges, judges, assistants and other officers of elections. The board is responsible for investigating irregularities, nonperformance of duties and violations of laws by election officers and other persons.

Outgoing board members, including Chairman John Ferrante (Republican), Marlene Mitchell (Republican) and Tannis Nelson (Democrat), approved a petition in a 2-1 vote that was filed with the N.C. Board of Elections, which led to the dismissal of former elections director Marvin McFadyen in January.

The petition painted a picture of a hostile work environment in the county elections office. McFadyen was described as making employees feel uncomfortable by discussing his personal life, including the woman at the center of a misdemeanor assault charge that resulted in McFadyen’s arrest in November.

McFadyen’s assault charge has since been dismissed, but the former director has sued New Hanover County, the New Hanover County Board of Elections and the N.C. Board of Elections for his February termination, claiming his due process and other constitutional rights were violated.

Read related story: Fired elections director sues New Hanover County, state elections board

“I think we brought integrity back into the office, and I think we did what’s right for the employees,” Ferrante recently told Port City Daily. “I think the new board is pretty well set up right now. We [the former board] have done all the heavy lifting. The employees and staff–including the current director–are extremely dedicated and go above and beyond on a consistent basis.”

The board voted 2-1 to appoint Derek Bowens as interim elections director in February following the removal of Marvin McFadyen. Bowens was subsequently appointed as director by the N.C. Board of Elections in March.

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