INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – More than two months after Supervisor of Elections Kay Clem retired, Governor Rick Scott Monday appointed Leslie Swan to fill the post officially and serve out the remainder of Clem’s 4-year term.
“I’m so proud to represent the citizens of Indian River County,” Swan said. Gov. Scott called Swan personally to deliver the news.
A Vero Beach resident for 23 years, Swan, 52, was appointed Acting Supervisor of Elections when it became apparent that an appointment would not be made soon after Clem’s resignation.
Swan said she was interviewed over the telephone by Gov. Scott’s Deputy Chief of Staff on Feb. 25. She said the background checks were quite thorough and included a criminal check, credit check and interview by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Next, Swan said she assumed she would have to be sworn in by a judge, but that no arrangements had been made to do that yet.
“This is all new to me,” she said.
Since Clem’s retirement, Swan has been doing the job without a deputy and she said there are no immediate plans to fill the position. The Supervisor of Elections has latitude to spend her budget on other needs instead of on that salaried post. Swan said she is short a person in the Information Technology and that she just got the money to purchase and setup a backup server for the computer system.
Swan, who joined the Supervisor of Elections office in 2005, will supervise a staff of six full-time, three part-time and one seasonal employees.
Along with Swan and Vero Beach Councilman Brian Heady, the candidate pool includes Althea McKenzie, Ernestine Williams, Harry Howle III, Cathy Hart, Sandi Harpring, Charles Searcy, Fran Adams, Thomas Lureau, Steven Deardeuff, Richard Kennedy, and Dominique Scott.
Harpring, upon receiving notice that she had not been chosen, said she does intend to run for the office and looks forward to when she said voters would get a say in the decision.
“I’m happy the Governor finally made a decision now I can focus on presenting myself to the voters in 2012,” Harpring said.
Hart received a call shortly after 2 p.m. from the Governor’s Office informing her that she had not been selected, she told VeroNews.com.
“I’m just so disappointed that they didn’t even give me a chance,” Hart said, explaining that no one from the Governor’s Office had reached out to her for an interview – via phone or otherwise.
She said she is still considering her options, which could include running for the seat in 2012. Clem narrowly beat Hart in 2008.
The next major event Swan will need to handle will be the City of Vero Beach, City of Sebastian and City of Fellsmere municipal elections November. Then soon after will be the Presidential primary in 2012.