New state elections chief named

Posted: Sunday, January 28, 2001

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- An Alaska state election official was appointed as Oregon elections director by Secretary of State Bill Bradbury on Friday.

John Lindback, 47, will succeed Lynn Rosik, who has been interim elections chief since June. He will begin the Oregon job March 13 and will be paid $94,692 a year.

Lindback, who currently makes about $70,000, has served in Alaska Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer's office since 1995. Ulmer is considered a possible candidate for Alaska's governor in 2002, a campaign in which Lindback might have figured prominently.

Lindback said he made the move partly so he and his wife can be closer to her 25-year-old son, who lives in Portland and has health problems.

''It was a hard thing to,'' Lindback said. ''We've lived here a long time.''

He said the decision was not prompted by any doubts about Ulmer's chances in 2002 or any inside knowledge that she might decide not to run. Republicans, who control both houses of the Legislature and all three of Alaska's seats in congress, hope to seize the governor's mansion as well.

''She's continuing to tell people she's still evaluating whether she's going to run,'' Lindback said. ''I think she has an excellent chance to win.''

As chief of staff, Lindback has overseen the Alaska Elections Division and the state's move in 1998 from punch-card ballots to optical scanner vote counting. He also advised Ulmer on electronic-government policy.

Lindback also has worked as an aide to the Alaska House Finance Committee, as a state budget analyst and for 11 years as a reporter and copy editor for newspapers in Alaska and Arizona.

Rosik, 44, also applied for the elections director post, said Paddy McGuire, Bradbury's chief of staff. There were 22 applicants for the job.

McGuire said Bradbury's decision to hire Lindback -- and not interim director Rosik -- was not based on dissatisfaction with Rosik.

Rosik will return to her job as an assistant attorney general, which includes advising the secretary of state on elections matters. She had moved to the elections post after former director Colleen Sealock left in the middle of the election year.

''Lynn Rosik was brought in to get us through the November election. She did a fantastic job,'' McGuire said.

Bradbury said Lindback's ''background in e-government and election reform will certainly enhance our ongoing efforts to increase the accuracy and accessibility of Oregon's elections process.''

''That's exactly the direction that Bill Bradbury wants this office to go,'' McGuire said.

Lindback, in a statement released by Bradbury, said Oregon ''has become a leader in elections because it has the vision and willingness to try new things and make them a success.''

The director's job involves managing the state Elections Division and overseeing conduct of state and local elections.

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