Nicole Lester, foreground, was fired at Monday's Rutherford County Election Commission meeting.
MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -
The Rutherford County Election Commission voted to fire its administrator during a meeting on Monday, just days before early voting begins for the August elections.
The commission voted 5-0 to oust Nicole Lester, who was hired by the commission in May 2011.
Election Commission Chairman Ransom Jones said it was brought to his attention that Lester wasn't working full eight-hour days. He said out of 200 days, about 100 or so are in question.
Lester said she has a clear conscious and she will be able to sleep at night knowing what she has accomplished over the past three years has been for the good of the county.
"I had approximately 200 extra hours in," Lester said. "If I was editing my time for any false reasons, I don't think I would have shown I worked 149 less hours for 2013. That, if nothing else, shows my honesty and integrity."
There was a standing room only crowd at the meeting. Where public comment was held, nearly all spoke in favor of keeping Lester.
"I think she is a great asset to this county," said supporter Phil Griffin. "I see no reason for us to end her service."
Jones said it was brought to his attention by the county's HR director and County Mayor Ernest Burgess about Lester often not working full eight-hour days, but claiming the hours. There were also concerns about her leadership skills and bad morale within the office.
"There were issues that had to be resolved," Jones said. "They had to be, so tonight we resolved them. It's very unpleasant. It's not something I like to do."
"I guess your statement was right about having your votes," said Lester after the vote.
"I'm sorry the commission didn't see fit to retain me as the administrator, but I know God will provide," Lester said.
This is the third administrator of elections to be fired in Rutherford County over the past four years. Hooper Penuel was retired at the end of 2010. Tom Walker, a former commission chairman, was appointed to the position in December 2010 and later resigned after a heated meeting in January 2011.
The board plans to appoint Elections Coordinator Rhonda McFerrin as interim administrator as they search for a new administrator.
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Rutherford Co. Election Commission votes to fire administratorMore>>
Thursday, July 31 2014 11:57 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:57:19 GMT
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