PROVO — Changes are being made in the Utah County elections office.

Utah County Clerk/Auditor Bryan Thompson decided to change the structure of the county elections office earlier this year, and the County Commission approved the personnel change last week.

Thompson said he wanted to make some changes to help the flow of the office.

The change in the structure called for the hiring of a chief deputy — and the demotion of the county's elections coordinator, Sandy Hoffman.

Hoffman was given an office specialist position, which cut her pay by about $5,000 a year.

Although many people have speculated that the change came as a result of the near-disastrous primaries in Utah County, Thompson said he had decided to change the structure of the office at the beginning of the year, before the primaries had taken place.

He said the office had a superfluous layer of management that could be reduced by the change.

"We needed to get it (the change) done now. We solidify polling locations in two weeks," Thompson said.

He added that they wanted to have the new structure in place by the June elections, so the change had to go before the County Commission now even though "a lot of conclusions were drawn" because of the proximity to last month's primary.

Hoffman said she was shocked when she found out about the position change.

"I had no clue, and I think that I feel like anybody else would when they've had their payroll messed with," she said. "I'm not bitter. I'm optimistic about my future."

Thompson inherited the structure of the former clerk/auditor when he was elected. He said he wanted to make it more efficient.

Part of that plan included hiring a chief deputy.

"It came to my attention that Scott Hogensen, who served as an elections coordinator in Weber and Summit counties and left last fall to go to Denver to be employed as their elections coordinator, was looking to come back to the state," Thompson said.

He said that's when he decided to look into changing the organization to have a chief deputy position, which Hogensen filled.

Thompson said Hoffman has some options.

"She can take a severance package and paid compensation time and vacation time and has until March 21 to decide," he said.

Hoffman said she hasn't decided yet whether she will stay with the county or go elsewhere.

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