During the search process — which involved a series of candidate interviews held in private board meetings, as allowed by the Georgia Open Meetings Act — Lowman Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that experience in elections was not a prerequisite for the department’s next leader.
The board, Lowman Smith said, was more interested in someone with executive-type experience who was equipped to manage an intricate operation that functions largely independently from the rest of the county government. A dynamic leader would be able to catch up to speed on elections laws and procedures, Lowman Smith said, and a deputy director will also be brought in to manage more day-to-day operations.
Smith has a Master’s degree in public administration and her current job in Virginia, which she’s held since 2015, involves leading a statewide agency charged with maintaining a robust pipeline of health care workers. A press release said Smith has “nearly two decades of progressive leadership roles in both the public and private sectors.”
“I’m honored to come to DeKalb to work alongside the [elections board] and other key stakeholders in preparation for the 2022 election cycle,” Smith said in the release. “With a major election on the horizon in Georgia, it will be critical to ensure operational efficiency, effectiveness and excellence within the [elections department].”
Smith said one of her first initiatives will be holding a series of public listening sessions with voters.