Johnston to decide future of official

Elections director is under scrutiny

Staff WriterJuly 14, 2006 

Johnston County's Board of Elections will meet today to consider the continued employment of Elections Director Teresa Davis.

Davis, who filed for bankruptcies in June 2005 and April 2004, is under investigation for an undisclosed amount of missing money.

"Yes, money is missing," Davis said Thursday. "And I take full responsibility."

Davis' office handles checks, cash or money orders that local and state candidates submit as filing fees, ranging from about $41 to $1,500.

It also collects money that people pay for certain voting information. Davis also has traveled to national conferences paid for by the county.

Davis' annual salary is $52,613. She joined the elections office in 1992 as a clerk and was promoted to an administrative assistant, according to the county's human resources office.

The Board of Elections, a three-member county-appointed board, hired Davis as its full-time director in April 1998.

Davis, 41, said she learned Monday that the finance department and internal auditors had noticed a problem with money that her office should have given to the county's general fund.

John Massey, county finance director, would say only that the investigation was ongoing.

County Attorney Mark Payne said he expected swift action.

"If we received information that raised this kind of concern, we would move very quickly," he said. "The financial records are there that we could at least reach a preliminary conclusion very quickly."

The emergency meeting will take place at 2 p.m. today in the economic development conference room of the Johnston County courthouse.

"I'd hate to lose my job," Davis said. "But that's for the three board members to decide."

(Staff writers Mandy Locke, Marti Maguire and researcher Lamara Williams-Hackett contributed to this report.)

Staff writer Peggy Lim can be reached at 836-5799 or plim@newsobserver.com.

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