Is the Review of Sacramento County’s Elections Office a Conflict of Interests?

Former Sacramento County Registrar Ernest Hawkins is the head of the review team.

CountyNews covered the ongoing issue back in August.

Moreover, Hawkins promoted Jill LaVine to assistant registrar and recommended her to the county as his replacement.

This and more probably won’t be received as the best news to the city clerks in Sacramento, Galt, and Rancho Cordovo, who all complained about the county’s handling of their elections last November, prompting the review.

Sacramento County awarded the $115,000 review contract to the Election Center, a suburban Houston non-profit that has had a two-way relationship with Sacramento County since Hawkins left for Houston.

LaVine’s boss, Chief Deputy County Executive Paul Lake, expressed his comfort with the Election Center conducting the review after a phone call to the firm’s executive director, who will also participate in the review alongside Hawkins. Lake said he made the call amid concerns about conflict of interests. It should also be noted that Paul Lake is the one who called for the review out of concern for the city clerks of the complaining cities and with the 2016 election on the horizon.

Hawkins acknowledged his past with LaVine but asserted that he would review the county impartially out of respect for the Election Center and the county. He also brought up the fact that he is just one of four people reviewing the county.

Further reading on the Elections Office review can be found here.

Image Credit: Flickr User brendan-c, via (CC BY 2.0)