Former Augusta Administrator Linda Beazley has been named director of the elections division for the state of Georgia.
She was chosen for the $72,000-a-year job by Secretary of State Lewis A. Massey to replace Jeff Lanier who resigned in November.
Ms. Beazley retired as interim administrator of Augusta's consolidated government Dec. 31, her last in a variety of jobs with Richmond County government during a 39«-year career.
She will assume her new duties full-time in mid-February and will divide her time between Atlanta and her home in Augusta, she said.
Ms. Beazley said she met with Mr. Massey and his assistant for an interview Jan. 7 at his request.
"When they offered me that job, I thought, `Well, why not?"' she said. "I will be working with people that I have worked with for many, many years across the state, and I think it would be exciting to get back into the elections field. I have always enjoyed it.
"And I'm not doing anything else, and I really don't think I'm ready to quit work cold turkey. So I took this opportunity, and I think it will be a very exciting time for me."
Mr. Massey said Ms. Beazley's extensive knowledge of operations at the county level will be of enormous benefit in enhancing citizen participation and combating fraud in Georgia elections.
"We're just thrilled to have her," said Chris Riggall spokesman for Mr. Massey.
Ms. Beazley was executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections from 1973 until 1993 when she became Richmond County's first woman administrator. She also worked in the Probate Court office for 15« years.
She retired under the consolidated government's enhanced early retirement plan last year.
Augusta Commissioner Moses Todd said the state will benefit from having Ms. Beazley direct the elections division.
"I think Mr. Massey picked a jewel," Mr. Todd said. "When it comes to elections and election laws, she's probably one of the top individuals in the country."
Richmond County Elections Board deputy clerk Joanne Reid said Ms. Beazley is one of the most knowledgable people in the state on election issues, having learned it from the ground up.
"And I especially think Linda will bring some common sense to the office," Mrs. Reid said.