Blizzard named elections director
By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 7, 2012 1:46 PM
A former voter registration director for the North Carolina State Board of Elections has been hired as Wayne County's new elections director.
Rosemary Blizzard, 38, who also served for several years as Duplin County's elections director, will assume her new duties Sept. 20. She takes the place of Beverly York, who has been serving as interim director since June 1.
Mrs. York will remain with the Board of Elections as deputy director.
The hirings were announced Thursday by Chris Gurley, secretary of the Wayne County Board of Elections. Gurley also announced the hiring of Dane Beavers as an election technician.
The board interviewed applicants for the jobs during a Wednesday closed session that lasted from 8:30 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m.
"Each of us (board members) kind of scored them based on how we felt about their qualifications and past elections experience," Gurley said. "We were unanimous on the selections in the same order. We hired Mrs. Rosemary Blizzard in the director's position. She is very well qualified. We were very impressed."
Gurley said that Mrs. York has done "a great job for us."
"I am extremely excited to serve as the deputy director," Mrs. York said. "Early on, I informed the board members of my interest in this position and committed to them, that if selected, I would support the incoming director.
"As it turns out, I have worked with the new director, Rosemary Blizzard, when we both worked as district election technicians for the state of North Carolina, so I am familiar with her experience and dedication to the election process. I look forward to continuing to support the citizens of Wayne County in my new role as deputy director."
Mrs. York has served as interim director since early June following the resignation of Vickie Reed, who had served as director since January 2008.
"She (Mrs. York) showed an interest and said she would love to be in the deputy position," Gurley said. "We interviewed her, as well as a couple of more. By far she was the most impressive and is very customer service oriented -- all three of our hires are.
"We are in the customer service business. That is one thing that I look for. She was more interested in the deputy director's job. She just felt like that was her calling. She is more interactive with the customer and with her background in customer support at IBM -- she felt like that was the part that would fit her the best. She is very, very professional and very good with the public. She is very open. We look at all three as a team, and time will tell, but I am confident that we have one of the best in the state as a team."
Beavers has elections experience from Florida to North Carolina, most recently working with Wake County, Gurley said.
"He has a young son and he feels like he would like to get to a smaller county," Gurley said. "He is very intelligent. We were very impressed with him. He has knowledge, that I think, long term, is going to save us money on some things he showed us he had done for other counties."
Beavers will be in charge of the voting equipment, information technology, geo-coding -- "pretty much the guts of the election process," Gurley said.
Mrs. Blizzard grew up in the Warsaw-Magnolia area of Duplin County, and is a graduate of James Kenan High School. She received her bachelor's degree from Elon College and her graduate degree from Wake Forest University. She is currently employed with the Lighting Gallery in Kinston that is owned by her husband's family. She taught at James Kenan High School from 1997-1999 and was the Duplin County Board of Elections director from 1999 until 2003.
In 2004, she served as the voter registration director for the entire state.
"We had our son, and I decided I did not want to commute to Raleigh every day," she said. "So it was a personal decision to leave."
Mrs. Blizzard said she was looking forward to returning to elections work.
"I had found out that the position had become vacant," she said. "I talked to a couple of friends of mine who are still in the elections business, and they said that it would be a good fit. So I gave it a shot. It is certainly going to be a challenge with the election only being seven weeks away. It will be fine. It will get done, and we will do everything that we can to make sure that it is done right.
"I worked several presidential (elections) and all the elections in between. I am going to be in contact with the staff. I will look at where we are in the process and make sure that we identify everything that still needs to be done and get it done. Right now we are just working towards Nov. 6 and we appreciate all of the patience of the Wayne County voters."