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County elections head resigns

Scott Hess
Lorraine Jewett-Burdick
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After five years, several elections and one special recall election, Nevada County Clerk-Recorder and Elections Officer Lorraine Jewett-Burdick is calling it quits.

In her resignation letter to Nevada County Supervisor Sue Horne, Jewett-Burdick wrote, “Due to budget cuts in Nevada County … the integrity of the Elections Office has been compromised beyond my ability to ensure the successful administration of elections.”

Serving the County of Nevada since her first election in 1998, Jewett-Burdick decided to move on and “redirect” her priorities. She will stay in office for three more months – until Jan. 14, 2004 -to ensure the March 2004 primary election is ready to go.

When asked for more information about the resignation, Jewett-Burdick responded, “I don’t have any further comments to offer.”

Laurel DeTar, the county’s senior elections assistant, said simply, “We’re devastated.” She added, “She is the most competent boss I have had in my life – and I have a 45-year work experience.”

DeTar has worked with Jewett-Burdick for two years (and three elections) and said she is an extremely hard worker and a “brilliant person” who “follows election laws to a ‘T’ to guarantee voters get their voting rights.

“She puts in more hours to do this job (the elections officer) than anybody should have to. She works nights, mornings and weekends. And in addition, she’s in charge of the recorder’s office.”

District 2 Nevada County Supervisor Sue Horne echoed DeTar’s sentiments. “I’m really disappointed to see her leave,” she said. “She looked at every detail and had very, very high standards and I think she met them.”

Retired clerk Bruce Bollinger has been quoted as saying that Jewett-Burdick is leaving because, after five years of service she is now vested in the county’s retirement fund. Jewett-Burdick, however, said she was already vested in the State Teachers Retirement Fund because of her years as a teacher and college professor.

The elections officer is responsible for making elections run smoothly and ensuring the integrity of Nevada County elections. As clerk-recorder, Jewett-Burdick handled all matters of public record, including marriage, birth and death certificates, leases, liens, military discharge papers and just about every other public record one could imagine.

Jewett-Burdick was elected first in 1998 and reelected in 2002. While she will be around until Jan. 14, she recommended the county hire and have the new clerk-recorder start by Dec. 1 to ensure a “seamless transition”, she wrote in her resignation letter.

Before acting as clerk-recorder and elections officer, Jewett-Burdick was a high school teacher and then a college professor. Now, she is ready for a change. She wrote, “…in many discussions with my husband and other family members, I have decided that I must redirect my priorities.” She mentioned she will become a horse trainer once she steps down.

For her replacement, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors is now scrambling to begin a statewide search, Horne said. “We’d like to bring a person on as soon as possible, but it will take a long time for the recruiting process,” she said.

The replacement will serve the rest of Jewett-Burdick’s term, until the end of 2006.


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