LIMA – The Allen County Board of Elections hired Champaign County’s director of elections to replace its outgoing director Thursday.
The board voted 4-0 to hire Kathy A. Meyer to replace Ken Terry, with the intention of making her the elections director. She will earn $53,381, just as Terry had, and will be allotted 80 hours of vacation time.
“Obviously it’s a little more money, but it’s also closer to family,” Meyer said. “My parents live up in Neapolis, Ohio, (in Lucas County), and they’re getting on in age. I have some grandkids up in the area too. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Meyer has been the elections director in Urbana since Jan. 3, 2012, and earns approximately $40,000 annually. She previously served as the elections director in Fulton County for four years after working as the deputy director there for the four prior years.
“I’m going to miss this area,” Meyer said. “I’ve made a lot of good friends. It was a very hard decision.” Ohio Revised Code requires a director to live in the county of service and Meyer will move within 30 days of starting her job in Allen County. Champaign County’s board of elections will meet soon to determine the process for replacing Meyer, who will leave at the end of March.
Meyer is familiar with the equipment Allen County uses, which gave her an advantage, said Ida Kay Keller, an Allen County Democrat on the board of elections.
“We’re pleased we could find someone of this caliber to take this position,” Keller said.
Since Terry is a Democrat, the county Democrats selected his recommended replacement during a meeting Wednesday. Board of Elections Chair Keith Cheney, also the head of Allen County’s Republicans, met with Meyer, too. He said he was impressed with Meyer, who he called “forthright” and “pleasant.”
Officially, she was hired as either the director or the deputy director. The board will reorganize March 11, selecting its director and deputy director at that time. Deputy Director Mark Vernik, a Republican, remains on staff.
Another challenge for Meyer heading into a presidential election will be the voter roll size. Allen County had 66,253 registered voters in November 2015, the 26th largest in Ohio, compared to Champaign County’s 24,869, the 28th smallest. She will have four full-time staffers to help her, though, while she worked with part-time staff in Champaign County.
“It’s a bigger county than what I’ve been in before. That might be a challenge for me, to think in larger numbers,” Meyer said. “But it’s just that. You need to think in larger percentages, too.”
Terry’s last day is March 30 before he leaves for a private sector job in information technology. He said he’ll continue to live in Allen County, but will travel.
Meyer starts March 31, although the board authorized hiring her up to seven part-time days at $18 per hour to help get her acclimated while Terry is still there. She will work one day in the absentee voting period, then split time between the two counties until votes are certified in Champaign County.
Casey Elliott in Urbana and David Trinko in Lima contributed to this staff report.