Lori Atchley (2) 2

Lori Atchley

Sumner County Administrator of Elections Lori Atchley has withdrawn her resignation, she confirmed last Tuesday.  

In a resignation letter dated Sept. 16, Atchley told the county’s five-member election commission that she had been trying since 2011 to get the Sumner County Commission to pay her office staff a salary comparable to what election office staff in other counties make.

Atchley, a Republican, was appointed to the position by the election commission in 2011. She oversees an office of five full-time employees and several part-time employees. 

Atchley also said that she requested in April $53,000 for the 2019-20 budget year to bring the salaries to the lowest level of wages compared to similar election offices and other departments within the county, but was only allocated $13,000.

Her resignation was to become effective on Nov. 18. 

In a letter to the election commission on Oct. 3 Atchley asked to withdraw her resignation after she said she was notified by county Finance Director David Lawing that the county has retained a third-party consulting firm to perform a salary analysis for her office.  

Atchley also said in the letter that she’s spoken to Chris Taylor, the county commission’s budget committee chairman, who indicated that the committee would follow the recommendations of the consulting firm, and adjust the salaries according to the outcome of the pay analysis.

“I am ecstatic to hear this news,” Atchley wrote. “This is what we have hoped for to equalize our payroll with other election offices across the state and within our own county.” 

Atchley said on Tuesday that a payroll analysis that she submitted in April had been markedly different than one conducted by Lawing’s office. She said she’s pleased that a third-party has been hired to look at the issue.

“Whatever they come up with, I’m willing to accept,” she said, adding that a conference call with the firm is scheduled for Oct. 16. 

The election commission announced Atchley will remain in her position in a press release on Tuesday.

“The Election Commission has overwhelmingly accepted her change of heart,” it says. “The Election Commission does not make this decision casually and believes it’s in the best interest of Sumner County to allow the current Administrator to stay and wait for the results of the [pay] analysis especially in light of the upcoming 2020 election cycle.”

Atchley said the commission had received seven resumes by the Oct. 4 deadline and would notify the applicants that the position would no longer become open. 

“I never wanted to leave,” Atchley said, “but they in my opinion didn’t do the right thing. I’m thrilled that they are now moving forward.”

The county’s election office will oversee three elections in 2020: a presidential and county primary election in March; a county general and state and federal primary election in August; and a general election in November.

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