Online Extra: The e-mail exchanges

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 2:28 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: the year

Hello….. well how goes the Election of 08 year? I thought I would just touch base with you and see if you still have an interest in a move to Waynesboro? My Board is trying to plan for the upcoming year and I need to give them as clear as possible “a picture” of what might transpire. I am trying to negotiate with my current board to keep the option open for me to move to a Board position at the end of 08. My current Secretary is the Rep and she REALLY wants off…… That would be the spot I would be comfortable with because I could continue to have some little role in keeping elections fair, etc. I could not really feel comfortable calling myself a Democrat….. while I am strongly independent, my past family ties pretty much make me a Republican. Politics are NOT a big deal in Waynesboro as they are in some places. I guess I just need to know if your interest would be strong enough to keep my board from searching high and low for a replacement for me. Marsha wants to quit before the Presidential but I don’t see how we could leave that spot open until Dec. 31st when I intend to step aside? I need to talk to the Demo. Vice chair to see if I can convince him to call himself Sec. for about 6 months until I could switch desks, etc. How do you like the way I am trying to keep a little job……. If I could get the family finances squared away and feel comfortable about the office before that date, it might be a go earlier than that? Well so much for the scrambling around here. Let me know your thoughts. Mary Alice 

 

 

From: Lisa Wooten

Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 2:40 PM

To: Downs, Mary Alice

Subject: RE: the year

Mary Alice,

You must have ESP!!!! This is incredible. I have been thinking about your position and was wondering what your plans were. Yes, I am very interested in making a move. I was even in Waynesboro Monday sort of looking around at housing possibilities. Of course, it all hinges on your retirement and when your board would like to start their application/interview process. I am most interested in applying and interviewing. I know they would like to get someone in place as soon as you decide to leave.

As far as the ’08 elections, well VERIS is VERIS…that’s a daily struggle! I’ve had quite an interest in this Primary Election. I’m still dealing with the ’07 November General election. I had a supervisor race that was very close, only 3 votes separate them and a recount has taken place and now next Wednesday a decision on the contest of election should be handed down! Thank goodness and hopefully I can put this election to bed. So in Nelson, things are just peachy!!!Hahaha! You, of course, know just how peachy elections really are!

Do keep me posted. I am VERY interested in applying for the position. Are you attending the Homestead? I have made reservations. I was hoping “our” district would have had a meeting by now. I’m not sure what’s going on, but Sherri has resigned from the Legislative Committee.

I have my assistant here with me today and tomorrow. If you will be in Friday, I may give you a call. I don’t want any of this to get out until it’s a sure thing or done deal so to speak! Thanks for remembering me and asking!

Lisa

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice [mailto:downsma@ci.waynesboro.va.us]

Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 5:12 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: RE: the year

I understand about the secrecy thing….that is the ONLY way things could work. Right now….if I can stall off Marsha’s retirement until the end of the year…..I will plan to step aside on Dec. 31st. I still have Scott’s house to sell ( mine really) The guy that Maureen Corum sent to me wanted to buy it. He wanted to lease for one year with payments to go toward sale price. That didn’t really give me enough money for the property. I sort of wasted the whole month of Dec. and half of Jan. waiting on him to make up his mind. Eventually his (almost ex) wife made the decision for him because she dropped on him the great news that his daughters needed braces to the tune of $20,000 and that wiped out what he wanted to apply toward the house. Anyway, it is now officially on the market. The price is 225,000. I think it will sell when people see how beautiful the lot is in the Spring! It would be nice to sell before that time, because it would sure help my financial picture….but we’ll see? I will keep in touch and will alert my Elec. Bd to the possibility of your interest. I just hope that I can manerver the current board to future good for both of us. Thanks for the heads up and give me a call Friday if you like. I have at least one assistant that would also like to keep working and she is good. She isn’t interested in moving up because of age but she is VERY dependable. My other assistant is also a possibility for continued work? There is also someone living in Waynesboro who works for Albemarle Co. Registrar. Holly Lynn Marks…..do you know her? More later. MAD

 

From: Lisa Wooten

Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 8:48 AM

To: ‘Downs, Mary Alice’

Subject: RE: the year

Thanks so much for understanding the secrecy thing. No, I don’t know Holly. I was wondering if you still had the house. I don’t think I could afford that right off the bat. Good luck on selling the property or whatever happens. I may take a look at it. I was considering an apartment for a short term and then a house, that is if all goes well. I would really appreciate your help in getting your position. I’m sure your board will advertise the position. I will keep in touch and give you a call tomorrow. Thanks for the info. I would not have a problem with keeping your current staff. The continuity means a great deal in this job. I don’t think it would be hard to make sure you ended up on the board if that is what you want.

Lisa

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 11:37 AM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: RE: the year

You should not just accept my staff without a trial period. They each have idiosyncracies that you should decide if you want to work with them. They are both dependable. One in particular. I am not telling anyone they have a job for life! WOW. You are very welcome to look at the house. The market over here is a little slow at the moment. This is a REALLY great location and has much potential. Needs lots of help on outside yard work to make it really beautiful. It could be such a wonderful home. We won’t be advertising the job for a while. More later. MAD

 

From: Lisa Wooten

Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008, 11:44 AM

To: Mary Alice Downs

Subject: RE: the year

I understand about a trial period. I have had 2 assistants since being the Registrar and both have their quirks! I’m pretty flexible, at least I think, to work with or for. Dependable means a great deal to me. That has been one of my issues with my current employee. For the most part she is dependable and quite capable. She alsio is retired and loves to plan trips on EVERYBODY’s time. So I’m not without working through problems. Do you think the girl from Albemarle is interested? Certainly she will see the ad and give it a try. Do you know anything about her as far as how long she’s been with Albemarle? Thanks again for keeping me in the loop. I’m certainly excited and I do know by no means I would be a shoe in for the job. I think it would be a challenge and a change for me that I’ve been looking for!

Lisa

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 12:03 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: RE: the year

Know NOTHING about Holly. She just votes absentee by mail and that’s about it. I guess I should look at her age? DUH? As for challenges, Waynesboro (current manager) thinks that this office is NOT under his control. Here is the gist (good or bad). I am not included in department heads planning meetings or anything that happens in City Manager’s office. Mr. Walker came from Spottsylvania Co. where he was Asst. County Administrator. Apparently the Registrar there “trained” everybody in Co. govt to believe that they couldn’t tell her office what or how to do anything. Since Mr. Walker doesn’t hire or fire me or the Electoral Bd. ….. he just lets us do as we please. So….. I take state holidays when SBE takes off even if City doesn’t. Our Circuit Court works the same way and that gives me added strength as they are at the end of the hall in the same building as we are. The Commonwealth’s Attorney office is next door and he closes too.

When it comes time for budgets…..I have to jump through the city hoops but the City manager “knows” that if it is needed by this office, he should comply with the requests. So far he has never balked at any request as long as I can give a reason for needing the money. He sort of thinks that all we do are unfunded mandates. That can be good and bad. The city offices open at 8:00. Traditionally this office opened for years at 8:30, but about two years ago, we started opening at 9:00. Currently we close between 1 and 2 for lunch and then work to 5:00. I really feel that during this Presidential year we should make a new policy to stay open through lunch and just use 9 to 5. That is operable as long as we have an assistant working. I have increased my budget to allow for two assistants that share 40 hours per week. That really makes the Registrar job easy, because “they” can get most of the regular work done. I just keep real close tabs on what they are doing and spot check lots of stuff.

We are advertising the 9 to 1 and 2 to 5 time. Often people just show up between the 1 and 2 time….. so I know lots of people don’t bother to check the hours we are open. Justice has the split day. If we are open more than that, then that is just gravy for the customers.

As I said yesterday, I need to talk to the Vice-chair of Elec. Bd to see if we can work out some way for him to step in as Sec. for the remainder of 08. If I can get him to agree, then Marsha will stay on the Board but will not have the pressure of Sec. job. John will need LOTS of help……but that would let me get better acquainted with that job before the end of the year. I must admit that Marsha has been such a good Sec. I have really had it easy. I know in many localities the Reg. has done all the EB work! I wouldn’t know how to behave with that picture.

More later. MAD

 

From: Lisa Wooten

Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 12:19 PM

To: Downs, Mary Alice

Subject: RE: the year

Great info! I don’t really have any issues with my County Administrator. I am included in staff meetings as a department head. I am also grouped with my Constitutional Officers. That’s a good thing and a bad thing! It has it’s ups and downs. My County Administrator knows he has no control over my office. He’s ok with that because he knows I have the Electoral Board. I have a great Secretary and for that matter a complete board. I do very little of their work anymore. They take care of mailing out to the officers of election and so forth. I do accept the Campaign Finance reports and handle all candidate issues. I order ballots and so for and do all of the absentee voting. I’m on the 9 to 5 since it’s been in place ever since I came here in 1987. I like the 8 or 8:30 time too and work a flexible lunch without closing. That way someone can leave early one day or everyday once the 8 hours are in. Like I said, I’m pretty flexible.

You have a May City election, correct? Have you ever tried to change that to November?These are just a few of the things I’d like to talk to you about. I don’t have May elections. This would all be new to me. Again, thanks for the info!

Lisa

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Thursday, January 24, 12:27 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: RE: the year

Yes to MAY elections. I REALLY like it. The local stuff for city council and school board stays out of the Nov mess! Also the Const. officers have their filings in Nov. and with the City Elections every two years in May…..it is easy to help them with their filings, etc. I find you need to spoon feed those people. Anyway…..it becomes an election just for the city and that is kind of nice. They don’t get covered up by Gov. legislature or whatever. You could adjust really easily. I have had a few suggestions about changing to Nov. but current council likes it the way it is. They take office on July 1st which complies with our fiscal year and keeps the election cycle from being close to the holiday season and if it was in Nov…..then they would need to reorganize on Jan. 1st and they don’t go for that. It also helps to have School Bd. reorganize in the summer rather than on Jan. 1st. I don’t look for any quick change of this schedule.

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 9:42 AM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: Voter Registrar Ad 7-08 (4)

This will appear in the Sunday News Virginian….. so don’t do application until next week……MAD

Voter Registrar

Full time w/benefits

The Electoral Board of the City of Waynesboro is seeking to appoint a Registrar of Voters for the City of Waynesboro to be effective January 2, 2009. Applicant must be a registered voter in Virginia and must reside in Waynesboro before taking the oath of Office. Must be a professional with a thorough knowledge of standard office procedures; basic office equipment; excellent computer skills including Microsoft Word, Excel, and a beginning knowledge of PowerPoint and Publisher. Position involves specialized clerical work registering voters and maintaining a statewide database. Knowledge of business math and English as well as the ability to interpret legal codes is necessary. Good public relations skills and the ability to establish and maintain excellent working relationships with city offices, coworkers, outside agencies and the public. Registar also hires and supervises additional assistants and/or deputy registrars as well as completing, submitting, and maintaining annual budget for office. HS diploma or equivalent, supplemented by vocational/technical course work in business administration and/or previous government employment is desired. Experience in political or election related fields, and/or certification as a professional general registrar will be given high consideration. Some evening and weekend hours are necessary during election time. Valid Virginia driver’s license or appropriate transportation is a must. Salary is set by the state legislature based on the population of the city.

Submit a City of Waynesboro application to Human Resources, 503 W. Main St., Suite 102, Waynesboro, VA, 22980. Applications may be downloaded from the website www.waynesboro.va.us. Resumes and/or additional information regarding qualifications may be submitted in addition to the application. The Electoral Board will make the appointment following a thorough selection and interview process. Closes 5:00 p.m. Monday, September 1, 2008. Late or late postmarked applications will not be accepted. EOE

 

From: Lisa Wooten

Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 9:47 AM

To: Downs, Mary Alice

Subject: Re: Voter Registrar Ad 7-08 (4)

Thanks so much for keeping me posted. I will do the necessary paper work!

Lisa

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:20 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: electronic poll books

I notice your locality on the list or 25 Electronic Poll books…… Waynesboro doesn’t have the money in the budget to add them for this Nov. but we will have our own laptops owned by us-2 and 2 borrowed, ) and I will go to the 1 day training………… Is it possible for us to arrange to get to the same training session………….if you can read through what I am thinking. I do hope I can get on the Elec. Bd and that would make a really smooth team effort?????? Keep in touch, Mad. PS…… the EB intends to meet the first week of Sept. and set up interview times……………additionally if all this works out and I feel good about that happening, would you be available for a couple of hour on Oct. 28th at 10:: AM until about 12:00. I don’t know when you normally schedule your training for Elec. Off…………but I am thinking ahead about smooth transitions.

 

From: Lisa Wooten

Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:49 PM

To: Downs, Mary Alice

Subject: RE: electronic poll books

I signed up just to basically get my foot in the door so to speak. I am planning on going to the sessions on Sept. 9th and 10th. I want to hear a full explanation of this concept. I may decide to hold off and not implement this for November, since we will still get printed roll books. I know it’s a technology that is “coming”, therefore I want to know as much as possible. I have money in my budget that I could shift around to pay for all of it. Then I again, I could drop it in someone else’s lap if you know what I mean!!!Hahahaha! I know, that wasn’t nice!!

I should be able to accomodate the 28th. I normally train my officers on the Saturday before the election. That also hinges this year on the EPB. I may schedule additional training anyway but not on the 28th.

(REDACTED)

Lisa

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:30 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: RE: electronic poll books

My interest in the 28th is possibly for you to join us and if things are set by that time, they can meet you. I would like for there to be a large number who continue serving as election officials. They have gotten so used to Marsha as Sec. of EB and she worked hard to keep them happy. If I get placed in her spot…..then I’d like to have many of them continue. So many are really good at their jobs. It would also reassure them if they know who might be coming behind. Of course that all depends on your affirmative answer to any questions asked.

(REDACTED)

Mary Alice

 

From: Lisa Wooten

Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2008 2:50 PM
To: Downs, Mary Alice

Subject: RE: VRAV assistance

My ballots came last Wednesday and are mailed and emailed. I’m running about 130 AB’s right now. Came in this afternoon just to get things ready for my part-time girl that is VERY part-time but great with filing and paperwork.

You definitely have a great plan and idea of how to get us more funding. I may have to re-think the President job after all. Whenever I mention money to some folks, they seem to want it but don’t offer any clues or ideas to how to get it. Some of the “larger” localities really snub their noses at the issue when mentioned. I know it’s because they have the staff to handle every aspect of the job and they sit around I guess twiddling their thumbs or are just being a PR person…who knows. You are on a roll and it’s good to let this crap out. We are all under crazy stress right now. I do hope folks appreciated VA Beach because we could use several more of those “vacations” from now until election day….:)

I am so looking forward to tomorrow…both excited and nervous. Will see you then…10AM.

Lisa

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 3:31 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: RE:Driving too Fast

Well how are you feeling today? The office here is crazy and even this email is not working properly. The letters are not coming up fast enough to allow me to type properly. CRAYX….or however you spell that word. We just got a new printer . It is really fast but the computer is not keeping up. Guess I will punt. Have you had any talks on your side of the mountain?? (REDACTED) Have a great evening. MAD

 

From: Lisa Wooten

Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 6:22 PM

I feel like I’m all over the map! Glad, for sure that they made a decision early. My board meets tomorrow and I will let them know after they meet. I will let my family know then as well. I’m just getting back from Richmond fo that last of the EPB training! I’m going to be even more nuttier after figuring the EPB! This office has been a zoo from what my other part-time girl has told me. My email is acting crazy too. I can spell faster than it is printing on the screen! I don’t know what the county has done???

(REDACTED)

Hope your evening is good too!

Lisa

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 2:19 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: stuff

How did your Board take the news? And of course your family? Is the boy friend still in the picture and if so is he happy about this event? Hope all this works well for you.

Our Board could not be more pleased. One interviewee (who works for the city) was most disturbed she did not get the position. I really think she wants a title. Anyway, she couldn’t do the job without about three steady months of training. She is quite competent but doesn’t make it easy to train for this job which is always changing. Whe has already complained to the HR department!. Was so upset that she has asked for three or four personal days leave. That is just her temperament and is another reason that emotionally she couldn’t handle the stresses of this office.

Have a great……slow……rainy Friday. MAD

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Monday, September 29, 2008 4:56 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: RE: Registration Call-In

Didn’t work on the week end. Probably should have because today was really a ZOO……………….(REDACTED) Got some BIG FOIA issues here to clear up in the next couple of days….. wait till later to tell you about that! …. MAD

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008 3:28 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: e-mails

The FOIA request I mentioned was the city employee who wanted this job and requested ALL the pertinent papers of all applicants….. She is NOT entitled to them because they are exempt….but I had to cross the tee’s and the ones on my BODY….tee-shirts….with crosses, etc., and dot the i’s. Maybe you can figure out what those might be…..I’m in a nasty mood, I guess. More later and have a great day. MAD

 

From: Lisa Wooten

Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 3:13 PM

To: Downs, Mary Alice

Subject: RE: tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

I do plan on coming to the party tomorrow! Do not want to miss that.

 

From: Downs, Mary Alice

Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 1:53 PM

To: Lisa Wooten

Subject: RE: tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

Lisa….it was great having you here yesterday….it is now lunch time and we are breathing again for a minute. Thanks for jumping on the phone yesterday. You blew Marsha and Dana away….. We need to get together here in the office AFTER election day. I have no problem coming in a as much or little as you like anytime after the election. We really need an acceptance letter from you so we have something on paper and we can get paper work completed anytime after Tuesday for the payroll info needed for JAN. 1st…..2nd actually. How about that…..your first day on the job will be a HOLIDAY…. can’t get any better than that!


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