THE GRADY COUNTY Board of Registrars office will be moving back into the courthouse before the end of the year. The county annex will become the office of Chief Magistrate Pat Pollock.
As soon as the upcoming November 5 sales tax referendum and Cairo municipal election is completed, it will be moving time for the Grady County Board of Registrars.
On Tuesday, the Grady County Commission authorized county administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, to proceed with a plan to relocate the chief registrar’s office back to the first floor of the Grady County Courthouse and the Chief Magistrate’s office will be relocated to the county annex, which currently houses the board of registrars, behind the courthouse.
“We are getting new voting machines next year and a lot is going on next year. This will provide better oversight and additional security for our elections,” the county administrator said Tuesday.
The move will centralize elections operations with Grady County Probate Judge Dennis Maddox, who serves as the county’s election superintendent, being located just across the hall.
According to Johnson, Chief Magistrate Pat Pollock and his staff have no objections to relocating to the county annex.
“When you sent this out, I thought it was a good plan,” Commission Chairwoman LaFaye Copeland said.
Chief registrar Malinda Butler told commissioners Tuesday morning that she preferred to remain in the annex rather than moving.
Johnson said a recent audit by Homeland Security found significant issues with election security at the annex. “This most definitely would be the move to insure that we can properly secure our new voting machines and the conducting of the election,” Johnson said.
The county administrator said he plans to have the two offices moved prior to the end of the year.
The board also voiced support for Grady County Clerk of Superior Court Debbie Kines to expand her office into a room next door to her office space. A request she has made for many years.
However, with the change the county commission will be relinquishing use of a vault that is currently used to store commission records and documents. A second vault used by the commission cannot be locked. According to Johnson, it will cost between $5,000 to $8,000 to make the necessary repairs to the vault.
Commissioner June Knight asked if the commission could share the vault with the Clerk of Court. Johnson said that Mrs. Kines would not agree to that, and if he were in her position, he would not either. Johnson said the clerk should have control of the vault because she is responsible for the records and materials to be stored there.
Johnson said he did not know the cost for the renovations necessary for the expansion of the clerk’s office. “I’ve been told it would cost as much as $50,000,” he said.