MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Board of Elections hired Laura Bruns of Coldwater as the new director following an executive session on Tuesday.
Bruns currently serves as the deputy director at the Mercer County Board of Elections. She is a graduate of the Ohio Association of Election Officials education program and was the Republican Election Official of the Year in 2016. Bruns will begin her service on May 13. The board approved her salary of $51,500, plus benefits. Bruns said she will relocate to Miami County in the near future as part of the job requirements.
“I believe that Laura Bruns is the right person to be the new director of the Miami County Board of Elections to help restore voters and taxpayers trust and confidence in the election process of Miami County,” said board member Rob Long. Long made the motion to hire Bruns and Chairman Dave Fisher seconded the motion. Board members Jim Oda and Audrey Gillespie also supported the motion to hire Bruns.
Bruns has served as director or deputy director of Mercer County Board of Elections. Bruns said Mercer County rotates the title every two years.
Following the board meeting, Bruns shared she began her career at the Mercer County Board of Elections as a clerk in 2008 and moved into the director roles a year-and-a-half later.
“Miami County presents a challenge, similar to a challenge I encountered when I became the deputy director in 2009 in Mercer County,” Bruns said. “So it’s not an unfamiliar place for me to go. It’s to come in and try to improve things from the way things have been run in the past. Goal number one, obviously, is to increase and improve the confidence of the voters of Miami County in this board of elections office and the staff and board here.”
Bruns said working in the elections field is not just a job, but a vocation.
“Once you are in it, you really need to be in it because it’s hard, it’s hard work. Especially election time, especially the few weeks before a presidential election it gets tough,” Bruns said. “You have to love it in order to do it every year. I see that in Ian (Deputy Director Ridgeway), I can see that he’s already kind of caught the bug and I’m impressed by that. I look forward to coming and seeing what my experience can do to assist and help work some of the bugs out here in Miami County.”
Bruns shared she formerly worked in the social services field and in a nursing home. She is the mother of four children and grew up in Mercer County.
In other news:
The board also approved Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway’s salary to match Bruns‘ at $51,500, effective May 13.
Board member Audrey Gillespie made the motion to increase Ridgeway’s base because of the history of matching the two positions’ pay as well as “because Mr. Ridgeway has gone, in my mind, above and beyond in his leadership in his current position, particularly in this interim …”
The board unanimously approved the salary adjustment. Chairman Fisher congratulated Ridgeway and said Ridgeway has done “a fantastic job during the interim.”
The board of elections then adjourned into second executive session for pending litigation following the hire of Bruns and the salary adjustments.