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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
FairfaxPoliticsRevolving door continues in Fairfax elections office

Revolving door continues in Fairfax elections office

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Fairfax County’s general registrar has resigned after less than a year on the job and now the former election manager will serve as registrar until the term expires on June 30, 2023, county officials said.

Scott Konopasek announced his intention to resign as general registrar during a closed session of the Electoral Board on March 24. In a formal letter March 25, the day his resignation became effective, he did not indicate why he was stepping down.

“I regret that the Board declined my offer of, and openness to, a smooth transitional period and hand-off to a successor,” he wrote.
Konopasek offered his best wishes for the continued success of the county’s Office of Elections.

“It has been my honor to serve the voters of Fairfax County and to work with the excellent staff of the Office of Elections,” he wrote.

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The Electoral Board then appointed election manager Eric Spicer as general registrar and he began serving in that capacity March 28. His annual salary will be $159,000.

Spicer has served as election manager within the county registrar’s office for four and a half years and previously spent 21 years as the city of Alexandria’s election administrator. He said he already could tell he would have a collaborative relationship with the Fairfax County Electoral Board.

“It was a very smooth transition,” he said, adding, “It’s only been a week and it’s been long hours, but I’ve enjoyed every moment.”

Spicer’s main immediate priority will be adjusting to the new state and congressional boundaries following the recent redistricting. The county also has redistricted its magisterial-district boundaries for the Board of Supervisors and School Board, but those adjustments amounted to a mere seven precinct changes.

“We’re well ahead of many jurisdictions in Virginia,” Spicer said. “That’s very important, to give everybody the new precincts, particularly in time for absentee voting to start on May 6” for the June primary.

Spicer praised the office’s “hardworking, very dedicated staff” and said he would work to ensure all eligible voters would have a fair and equal opportunity to vote.

The registrar’s office has 38 full-time positions, about a dozen of which now are vacant, plus seasonal staff jobs that fluctuate depending on the time of year, Spicer said. Filling the vacant positions will be a high priority, he said.

Spicer began his career more than 30 years ago as a budget analyst for the city of Alexandria, then began working for the city’s recreation department before becoming election administrator.

“Public service is my life,” he said. “Once I got [into elections work], it gets in your blood. If you’re doing it right, you feel very strongly, as I do, about the opportunities in America and anything I can do to help in this field.”
The county general registrar’s post has been a revolving door for the past several years:
• Konopasek, who had more than 25 years’ election-management experience in the public and private sectors, began serving as registrar last April (at a salary of $150,000) following Gary Scott’s retirement after 24 years with the Office of Elections.

• The Electoral Board had hired former deputy registrar Scott subsequent to firing General Registrar Cameron Sasnett shortly before the June 2018 primary.

• The Electoral Board in 2015 had appointed Sasnett – at salary of $110,000 – to succeed former General Registrar Cameron Quinn, who had asked not to be reappointed. After leaving her county job, Quinn served in multiple roles in the Trump administration, including officer for civil rights and civil liberties with the Department of Homeland Security.

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