WINCHESTER — After 14 years as Frederick County’s director of elections and general registrar, Rick Miller is retiring.
Today marks the 69-year-old’s last day on the job. He is being succeeded by 57-year-old Richard Venskoske, who starts Monday. Venskoske is former chairman of the Frederick County Electoral Board.
Miller, who became the county’s director of elections/general registrar in February of 2005, said it simply felt like it was time to retire. He lives in the Back Creek District with his wife Natalie. Prior to becoming registrar, he served two years on the county’s electoral board and was director of golf at Carper’s Valley Golf Club.
In Virginia, a director of elections/general registrar has numerous responsibilities, including the review of election applications, tallying votes, ensuring that state election laws are followed, training election officers and overseeing election preparations.
While the job can be stressful, especially around election time, Miller said he will miss the people with whom he has worked. He called election officers the county’s “heroes and heroines.”
The county registrar serves a four-year term and is selected by the county’s three-member electoral board.
Miller notified the electoral board about six months ago about his plans to retire. He said 11 people applied for the job, and the electoral board interviewed three applicants.
Marie Straub, vice chairwoman of the electoral board and Tom Reed, the board’s secretary, voted at the board’s June meeting to hire Venskoske. His term will run from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2023.
Venskoske served on the electoral board for 14 years and had been chairman since 2015. Prior to that, he was a poll worker. His replacement on the electoral board will be made in July. The political party of the governor of Virginia — current Gov. Ralph Northam is a Democrat — gets to submit three nominees to the Frederick County Circuit Court for consideration when there’s a vacancy on the county’s electoral board. A judge then chooses from among the nominees.
Winchester-Frederick County Democratic Committee Chairman Bill Fuller plans to submit the nominees early next week. The committee has 30 days from Venskoske’s resignation to submit names.
Venskoske’s nomination to the board 14 years ago was made by Democrats, but the registrar position has no party affiliation.
As electoral board chairman, Venskoske ran monthly meetings, ensured that election laws were followed, kept the county up-to-date on rules and changes in election equipment and verified election results.
Venskoske was employed from 2011 until June as an information technology administrator for Quad/Graphics in Martinsburg, W.Va. From 1979 2000, he was a cryptologist for the Navy. He earned an associate degree in computer science from Kaplan University in 2009.
He said he plans to use his IT background to help make the registrar’s office “work smarter, not harder.”
Venskoske will need to get up to speed quickly for the Nov. 5 election. Up for election in Frederick County are four members of the Board of Supervisors, four members of the School Board, Commissioner of the Revenue, Treasurer, Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Sheriff; as well as the 27th District state Senate seat; and the 10th, 29th and 33rd District seats in the House of Delegates. Stephens City also is having a special election to replace a Town Council member.
Venskoske will earn an annual salary of $68,000, according to Frederick County Public Information Officer Karen Vacchio. Miller’s salary was $73,902.