Archived News

Return to normal in sight for Macon Board of Elections

More than three months after the State Bureau of Investigation started looking into $50,000 worth of embezzlement from the Macon County Board of Elections, a return to normalcy is in sight for the elections office. Kim Bishop, the county elections director who was placed on paid investigative leave when the investigation launched, has submitted her resignation, and the county board has sent the state board its recommendation for her replacement.

 

“It’s basically just a formality, but it is ultimately up to them,” said Luke Bateman, chairman of the Macon County Board of Elections. 

The board has recommended Debbie George, who is serving as interim director, to replace Bishop. George has held the title since shortly after Bishop was placed on leave in January and has been working for the board of elections since 2003. In 2005, she was promoted from her original part-time job to the fulltime job of deputy director, which she held until taking on the interim director job. 

“She was already in the position, so she was the obvious choice,” Bateman said. 

The final decision from the North Carolina Board of Elections is expected within the next few weeks. It’s a piece of mail that Bateman is looking forward to. Things have been topsy-turvy since the SBI investigation began, bringing a flurry of publicity to the “typically quiet” office as its leaders worked to make cuts and secure funds to cover the $50,000 vanished from its coffers. 

Related Items

The criminal investigation is still ongoing, but as far as Bateman is concerned the issue is basically wrapped up. 

“We’re not investigators,” he said. “Our sole job is to run the county office to the best of our ability.”

The investigation involves 37 checks that Bishop had requested and signed, supposedly to pay contractors for part-time work, according to court documents. However, the people the checks were made out to never received them, the search warrant said, and the board members whose names appeared on the signature line said they had never signed the checks. 

Bateman is glad for the chance to name a new director and move on — especially without the financial burden of paying Bishop her $42,000 while employing someone else to fill her position while she stayed home on leave. 

“This will give us the chance to get back to business as usual,” he said. “That was our goal from the get-go.”

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.