Marshall retires as Columbia County elections director


Deborah Marshall won’t return to work as Columbia County’s elections director.


Marshall retired at the end of the year after convalescing at home since surgery on a malignant brain tumor April 9, Board of Elections Chair­man Larry Long said.

“The family elected to have her retire on the 29th of Decem­ber,” Long said. “It’s very difficult. It’s not what we had hoped would be the outcome – that she
would recover and return to her position.”

Marshall had been on leave, and after using up her own had been using leave time donated by other county employees, County Adminis­trator Scott Johnson said.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “She’s loved by everyone. It’s been tough. It’s been tough for everyone. She was a mainstay in this county. She was a good friend to a lot of folks, a good friend of mine. It’s just sad.”

Marshall, 49, was hospitalized April 6 after suffering from severe headaches. After surgery for partial removal of the tumor, she received chemotherapy. She was released from Medical College of Georgia Hospital in June.

A lifelong Appling resident, Marshall had been an elections staffer since 1984 and was appointed executive director of the Board of Elections in 2000.

The director’s position is being advertised, and a new director could be in place “in another month or two,” Johnson said.

Other staffers in the board’s office have handled its duties in Marshall’s absence, including working through the 2012 election season. That effort earned the department the county’s Team of the Year honor for 2012, to be awarded today at the county commission meeting.

“The fact that we were able to continue, especially in a presidential election year,” is a credit to Marshall’s leadership, which included an insistence on cross-training staff members, Long said.

“We hope to be able to continue on with the vision that she set forth for the department,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult to fill her shoes.”

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