At their Oct. 20 meeting, county commissioners and coworkers took time to honor recently retired Supervisor of Elections Ida Cooper Elliott.
Pinki Jackel, appointed in August by Governor Rick Scott to fill Cooper’s position until the 2016 election, appeared before commissioners with her entire staff and Elliott’s daughter Samantha. Elliott was unable to attend the meeting due to illness.
Jackel began by introducing the Office of Election’s staff including her newest employee, Deputy Ryanna Lockley.
“We are here today to honor Supervisor Ida Cooper Elliott and her service to FranklinCounty,” said Jackel.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner listened in on the meeting via a conference call. He praised Elliott saying, “I want to recognize Ida Cooper Elliott for her service to the people of FranklinCounty and the people of Florida and thank her. She distinguished herself, I think, in a lot of ways. I just want to take a moment, through her family, to thank her for her public service this morning.”
Jackel also thanked Elliott for her service and asked Commissioner Cheryl Sanders to read a statement prepared by Elliot’s family.
“Ida Cooper Elliott began her career in the FranklinCountySupervisor of Elections office on Sept. 17, 1979.,” Sanders read. “Her husband told her if she would get a job they would get married. She married her husband, Mark Elliott on Dec. 15, 1979.
“She worked under then Supervisor of Elections, Mrs. Eddie Smith, then later, Doris Shiver Gibbs.
“Ida has two daughters, Miranda, who is married to Tim Ard and they have two children, Taylor Keith and Riley Tate Ard of Tallahassee and daughter Samantha Elliott, also of Tallahassee. Ida loves to fish, hunt and cook. She loves and misses working with her co-workers and poll workers but does not miss getting up at 4:30 a.m. on Election Day.”
Sanders told Samantha Elliott, “My thoughts and prayers have always been with your mama and, no matter how this comes out, she’s okay.”
Samantha Elliott responded that she wanted to thank everyone present for honoring her mother.
“She was and still is a great person to this community. I appreciate all that you’ve done for her,” she said.
Aided by her chief deputy, Carrie Johnson, Jackel presented Samantha Elliott with a plaque from the Secretary of State’s office and two copies of a plaque from her own office acknowledging Elliott’s 36 years of service to the public.
Jackel later said she had provided two copies of her plaque so that each of Elliott’s daughters could have one to keep. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ida and her family,” Jackel said.
Former Supervisor of Elections Doris Shiver Gibbs then took the podium to praise Elliott. She tearfully remembered Elliott and praised her.
“Ida was not only my worker, she was my family,” Gibbs said. “In 2013, within a month of each other we were both diagnosed with cancer and that brought us even closer together. For 28 years we were side-by-side. We traveled together. We did things together. She always had a plan for everything. If she was making a trip to go up the river, she had a plan. She had all of her meals planned.
“She worked in the elections office like that. If something came up and she didn’t know how to do it right that minute, we may have had a vendor who knew how to do it in five minutes but she would sit there and figure it out for herself. That was the type of person she was.
“She loves this county. She’s always loved this county,” said Gibbs. “She retired June the 30th and now its almost October the 30th. A few months ago, she may have been able to stand and be here to be honored by you, but today she’s not able too.
“It breaks my heart that she’s not able to be here,” she said. “You could have filled this place today with poll workers and other people.”