ELIZABETHTOWN - Yet another changing of the guard is expected at the Essex County Board of Elections as another staff member there has announced his intent to leave the department.
David Mace, the Democratic election commissioner in Essex County, has announced his intent to resign from the position effective July 3.
The announcement came to light at the Essex County Board of Supervisors meeting June 7 when Chesterfield supervisor Gerald Morrow moved a resolution to accept Mace's resignation and appoint Ticonderoga resident Robert Pell-deChame to fill the remainder of his term.
"It should be a smooth transition," said Morrow, who is also vice-chair of the county Democratic committee. "Robert is very knowledgeable, and he'll be working with Dave over the next few weeks."
Pell-deChame, who made an unsuccessful run as Ticonderoga town supervisor last year, said it was likely his familiarity with election procedures that led Democrats to select him for the position.
Morrow praised Mace for his work in the position, most notably for dealing with the recent switch to electronic voting machines and other regulations stemming from the federal Help America Vote Act, which county officials have begrudgingly followed.
Mace, a retired software developer, has served as an election commissioner since January 2007. With his resignation, he becomes the second election commissioner to step down in the past six months. Former Republican Commissioner Lewis Sanders announced his resignation in January, citing health problems.
Mace's resignation letter had yet to be formally received by County Clerk Joe Provoncha at the time of the meeting, so Morrow was forced to withdraw his resolution.
Mace later confirmed his plans to resign, however, noting that he became certain of the decision shortly after the May 3 Board of Supervisors meeting. At that meeting, the board unanimously voted to urge the Board of Elections to reconsider a plan that would consolidate polling places in four towns.
Though he had initially planned to resign May 21, Mace said, he agreed to stay on through July 2 to give Democrats more time to find a replacement.
In the meantime, Pell-deChame has been hired as a temporary clerk at the Board of Elections to become more familiar with the office before he becomes commissioner.
"He'll have plenty of guidance from the State Board [of Elections]," said Mace. "It's not all that complicated except for the new machine issues this year."
"He's a very smart guy, and I'm sure that he will be more than capable of doing a good job as commissioner," Mace added.