Maggie Snoddy: Let’s talk about the registrar’s office
Published 11:10 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023
On June 14, former Buckingham County interim registrar Luis Gutierrez, was given space in this paper to share his story. My name was mentioned in his article. I feel that I am justified to respond as much of what Mr. Gutierrez stated was at best misleading.
As for his statements that the office was a mess, I believe that mess was not left by former registrar Lindsey Taylor, or her staff. The office was clean and orderly when I saw it and there are pictures of how the office was left by Ms. Taylor and her staff. Before Mr. Gutierrez was hired, the office was occupied by the two Republican members of the Electoral Board. If there was a mess, possibly it was left by them.
Ms. Taylor and her staff resigned due to the harassment and intimidation by various individuals, including Luis Gutierrez. Four people heard a phone call he made to the registrar’s office. There are emails I obtained through a FOIA request that document his call.
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On Friday, April 14, I stopped by the registrar’s office with a friend and met Mr. Gutierrez for the first time. I am the Vice Chair of the Buckingham County Democratic Committee, and I have been an Officer of Election for 13 years, serving as Assistant Chief for most of that time. I wanted to review and copy the public absentee list. This is public information and available for copying.
Mr. Gutierrez gave quite a performance for us. Among other things, he told us how smart he was, that I was an angry person, and that he was going to make me his project for the year. To say that this was unprofessional behavior on his part is an understatement. I tried to keep him focused on the purpose for which I was there. Keep in mind, this was the first time I had met him.
He told me he did not know where the public absentee list was. He told me I could take pictures with my cell phone, once he found it. I told him I would make a few phone calls to help him find the list. So as we were ending our conversation, I summarized what we had just stated. I told him I was going to make a phone call to find out where that list was. And just to confirm, I asked him if the list was found, could I take pictures with my cell phone, and he replied yes. I have two witnesses that can confirm all this.
A member of the Electoral Board was in the office that day, and I politely came in and told her where the list was. At that time, Mr. Gutierrez was in his office with the door shut. The board member went to the shelf and found it and gave it to me. It was clearly labeled. She stayed in the room with me the entire time. It is important to note that while I was reviewing the public absentee list and taking pictures with my cell phone, Mr. Gutierrez came into that office, observed me, and never said a word or told me to stop. I was never in any office alone, much less in his office.
I could list many more conversations I had with Mr. Gutierrez, but what would be the point? He is no longer registrar, and that is all that matters.
Mr. Gutierrez should have never been hired. It appears no background check was done prior to his appointment by the Electoral Board. A background check would have revealed any concerns or issues from his previous employment, as the board claimed when they fired him. No one did anything to him. He was fired because of his own unprofessionalism.
Now I ask you, good citizens of Buckingham County, aren’t you relieved that Mr. Gutierrez is back to being a private citizen?
MAGGIE SNODDY is the vice chair of the Buckingham County Democratic Committee and can be reached at email@example.com.