BROOKSVILLE — Four days before assuming the duties of Hernando County Supervisor of Elections, Shirley Anderson has yet to meet with her outgoing predecessor, Annie Williams.
When asked Thursday why she and Williams haven't met to discuss the transition, Anderson said she was baffled.
"I have no idea," Anderson said. "I wanted to, but nothing was ever arranged between us."
Anderson said that she plans to meet with the elections office staff Tuesday and is assuming that Williams will be there.
However, Williams, who is retiring after 38 years working in the office, gave no indication she would.
"My last official day is Monday," she said. "And since there has been no formal request from her (Anderson) to meet before then, I don't know what will happen."
Williams said she did receive an email from Anderson last month asking to meet, but no specific date was offered.
"I've been extremely busy," Williams said.
Anderson said she was on vacation during the holidays, and hoped that transition plans would be discussed when she returned.
The two women have had a bristly relationship the past few years, dating back to the 2008 Supervisor Of Election race that pitted Anderson, a Republican newcomer, against Williams, a two-term Democrat. During the campaign, Anderson heavily criticized Williams's handling of the job and questioned her competence to do the job. Nonetheless, Williams won the race handily.
In last year's race for elections supervisor, Williams admonished Anderson for entering a polling place and speaking with a poll worker during the August primary election, an action Williams said is prohibited by state election laws. In an interview with the Hernando Times last month, Williams said she had concerns about her successor "who has never worked an election."
Anderson said that she is ready to take over the reigns of the office regardless of whether she and Williams meet. She said she plans to be at a Jan. 14 election supervisors' orientation meeting in Tallahassee sponsored by Florida Association of Supervisors Of Elections.
Anderson said following the election that she that she intends to keep the office's existing employees at least through a 90-day review period. One employee, Cookie Ruiz, announced her retirement last month. Elizabeth Townsend, the office's operations director and Anderson's Democratic opponent in the election declined to comment about whether she would remain on the staff.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.