Former Forsyth elections director will help Fulton

Fulton County’s elections department, under close scrutiny after an array of problems in the July primary, has hired retired Forsyth County elections director Gary Smith to help its staff run a smooth presidential election next month. The Board of Registration and Elections hired Smith as a consultant on Thursday at a rate of $42 per hour.

He starts work on Friday, four days after the start of early voting. Interim Director Sharon Mitchell said he will work up to 40 hours per week for a maximum of nine weeks, meaning the position could cost the county more than $15,000. Board members have said the money will come from unfilled positions, including former Director Sam Westmoreland’s currently unused $105,000 salary.

Westmoreland resigned last month after landing in jail for failing to follow probation terms from a 2009 DUI arrest, prompting the board to look for outside expertise.

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