One itty bitty post-election mystery solved

One of the biggest sources of post-election tension in state government: How much turnover Secretary of State-elect Lawerence Denney and Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect Sherri Ybarra would see among employees in their new offices.

We’ve talked to a few staffers in each office, and no one knew the fate of their jobs come January, though all were hopeful they would stay on. (It should be noted Ybarra hasn’t indicated she’s cleaning house when she takes office, and Denney said he will keep the staff, adding he believed he had to keep them on, as they’re classified employees. The classified employee part isn’t true, though Denney said he thought retaining the staff was important for continuity.)

There was also speculation that many would voluntarily leave, following the paths of long-term ed department staffers like Luci Willits, Jason Hancock and Melissa McGrath. We were especially interested in the fate of Secretary of State Chief Deputy Tim Hurst, who has worked at the SOS office for years. Denney told the Statesman he’d asked Hurst to stay on, but there was no public word on whether Hurst would.

But outgoing Secretary of State Ben Ysursa told new lawmakers today that Hurst will stay on after Denney takes over. Mystery solved.

Ysursa, however, is looking forward to retirement. “Thirty two days and counting,” he told the freshmen.

Another interesting note: When we visited the Superintendent’s office the other day, one corner room — normally vacant and used for meetings — was set up as a transitional temporary office for former Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, who helped with Sherri Ybarra’s campaign. We chatted with Corder, who said he’s helping with the transition, but doesn’t plan to stay on Ybarra’s staff permanently.

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