By BOBBY WARREN Staff Writer Published: December 1, 2014 4:00AM
WOOSTER — Wayne County’s top election official just did not want to go through another presidential election, and she won’t have to. She’s retiring.
Director Nancy Hamilton, who has been at the Board of Elections for 19 years, is retiring at the end of November.
“It’s time,” Hamilton said. “I didn’t want to be here for another presidential election. Let the new blood take over. Technology was passing me by.”
While Hamilton alleged technology was passing her by, she was praised for her information technology work by Jean Mohr, the Democratic chairwoman of the Board of Elections, and Dorothy Ginther, a former Republican board member.
“She has stepped up and taken care of the IT stuff that no one would,” Mohr said.
“She did her job the way she was supposed to, and she knows technology — though she will tell you she doesn’t,” Ginther said.
“I asked her to come work for the Board of Elections part time,” said Jim Carmichael, a former chairman of the Wayne County Republican Party and former board member. “I knew her and her family for years. I thought she would be a really good worker, and it turned out to be true.”
“Nancy was a huge asset to the Board of Elections,” said Sue Smail, chairwoman of the Wayne County Republican Party. “Her work ethic, organization and knowledge will be greatly missed. Experience is hard to replace.”
Earl Kerr, a Republican on the board, said when Hamilton retires, her 19 years of experience will be more than all of the remaining workers combined. “We will miss her, her (institutional) memory and her experience. That’s a lot to lose.”
“Nancy has done a fantastic job,” said Betsy Sheets, chairwoman of the Wayne County Democratic Party and board member. “She did an excellent job as director reorganizing and streamlining things.”
“She was a joy to work with,” said Carolyn Carmichael, a former Republican board member. “She was very open to suggestions. She was a really hard worker, and she worked well with staff.”
Joy Varner, a Democrat who served on the board, said Hamilton was very professional and good with the public.
Regional liaison Marilyn Jacobcik brought Hamilton a commendation from Secretary of State Jon Husted.
“Nancy always has such a pleasant smile and personality,” Jacobcik said. “She always seems to take things in stride. In this business, that is not always easy to do.”
Wayne County commissioners Ann Obrecht, Scott Wiggam and Jim Carmichael presented Hamilton with a county flag and praised her work as an elections worker and director.
With Hamilton retiring, Peter James, a Democrat, has been promoted to director from deputy director. Julie Leathers, a Republican and former Orrville councilwoman, is the deputy director.
“Nancy has been the unsung hero of the Wayne County Board of Elections,” James said. “Without her guidance and leadership during the 2012 presidential election, the outcome, at least from an elections administration standpoint, would have been quite different.
“Nancy’s greatest asset is her ability to communicate and teach what she has learned. There really isn’t another job or career that can prepare you for working at the Board of Elections. It just takes time and experience, and for me, Nancy has significantly shortened my learning curve by sharing literally everything she learned.”
James said his immediate goal is to maintain and build upon the foundation Hamilton has built.
“If our office can oversee the fair, honest and efficient elections that took place under Nancy’s leadership, we will have been successful,” James said.
Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.