Ex­ec­u­tive edi­tor to take po­si­tion with county

The Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Jenny DeHuff

Af­ter serv­ing as the ex­ec­u­tive edi­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia in Fort Wash­ing­ton for the past decade, Michael Morsch has been named Mont­gomery County’s di­rec­tor of voter ser­vices.

County Com­mis­sion­ers Vice Chair­woman Les­lie Richards, who heads the elec­tion board, said the county un­der­went a lengthy in­ter­view process in ap­point­ing Morsch. Morsch was se­lected from a com­ple­ment of roughly 20 ap­pli­cants, Richards said.

Re­flect­ing on his decade with Mont­gomery Me­dia, Morsch said, “Mont­gomery Me­dia has been a spe­cial place to work for me. I’ve had the op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved with sev­eral com­mu­ni­ties on a per­sonal ba­sis and met many won­der­ful peo­ple in the past decade. And I’ve had the chance to work with some highly skilled jour­nal­ists along the way who taught me a lot about my­self, about ded­i­ca­tion and about the craft of lo­cal jour­nal­ism. I am ex­tremely grate­ful and hum­bled to have had a chance to work along­side those tal­ented pro­fes­sion­als.”

“Mike’s con­tri­bu­tion and leader- ship at Mont­gomery Me­dia is in­cal­cu­la­ble,” said Ed­ward Con­dra, se­nior pub­lisher of Mont­gomery Me­dia. “He de­fines com­mu­nity jour­nal­ism and will be missed.”

The de­ci­sion was made clear fol­low­ing July 18’s reg­u­lar con­ven­ing of the county com­mis­sion­ers and the salary board.

Richards called Morsch an un­bi­ased match for the job with strict dead­line ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing worked in news­pa­pers for the last 30 years.

“Through­out his ca­reer in news­pa­pers, Mike has demon­strated un­ques­tioned fair­ness and ob­jec­tiv­ity, as well as strong man­age­rial skills,” Richards said. “He also is used to work­ing un­der pres­sure and with dead­lines and has ex­pe­ri­ence in mov­ing an op­er­a­tion into the dig­i­tal age.”

Morsch worked as the edi­tor of The Times Her­ald, Mont­gomery Me­dia’s sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion, from 2000 to 2002. Af­ter a brief stint as a univer­sity mag­a­zine pub­lisher in Illi­nois, he re­turned to Mont­gomery County in June 2003, when he be­came ex­ec­u­tive edi­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia, whose news­pa­per ti­tles in­clude The Times Chron­i­cle, The Glen­side News and The Globe. He holds a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in jour­nal­ism from the Univer­sity of Iowa.

“Lo­cal news­pa­pers should be in­te­gral parts of their re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties and I’m con­fi­dent that the com­mu­ni­ties served by Mont­gomery Me­dia pub­li­ca­tions and web­sites will con­tinue to be well-served,” Morsch said.

Long­time Voter Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Joseph Pas­sarella, a Repub­li­can, was ousted in April, a move that drew the ire of the head of the county GOP.

The fir­ing of Pas­sarella ruf­fled the feath­ers of the head of the Mont­gomery County Repub­li­can Com­mit­tee, Bob Kerns, who called the move po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated. The MCRC sued the county over the in­terim ap­point­ment of Michael Pas­ton, a Demo­crat and print and ar­chive spe­cial­ist, to the post. The law­suit was with­drawn last week af­ter Pas­ton did not get the job. The May 22 pri­mary elec­tion went off with­out a hitch, de­spite low turnout num­bers.

Morsch will as­sume the po­si­tion Aug. 5, re­sign­ing from Mont­gomery Me­dia, and will take home a salary of $75,000.

Mont­gomery Me­dia staff writer Thomas Celona con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

21st Cen­tury Me­dia News Ser­vice file photo

In this Oct. 9, 2012, file photo, Michael Morsch, right, re­cently ap­pointed as the Mont­gomery County di­rec­tor of voter ser­vices, greets John Pergine at the Mont­gomery County Coaches Hall of Fame Ban­quet held at Westover Coun­try Club in West Nor­ri­ton.

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