Board of Elections OKs compensation recommendation

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — A recommendation concerning compensation time for Shelby County Board of Elections employees was approved Wednesday morning by the board members following an executive session to discuss the matter. The recommendation will be sent to the Shelby County Commissioners for their approval.

“As a board, we are concerned we are fair to our employees — Pam (Kerrigan, director) and Donnie (Chupp, deputy director) — and we’re responsible to the taxpayers,” said Chairman Chris Gibbs.

Gibbs said the Secretary of State’s office determines when board of election employees must be open during a period of 30 prior to Election Day.

“It’s the nature of election time that they must be here prior to the election and post election. The Secretary of State requires the staff to be here,” he said. “So we’re using the state guidelines that we required to staff the board 30 days prior to the election for early voting. That means were open on Saturdays and Sundays, and up to 7 p.m. many days.

“This requires the board of election employees to accrue additional hours,” he said.

The board of election employees work 32.5 hours per week. Hours over the 32.5 weekly may be taken as compensatory time, flex time or overtime.

The employees follow the Shelby County personnel policy and procedure manual adopted by the commissioners concerning wages.The proposal, said Gibbs, only effects the board of election employees and no other county employees.

“Our expectation is that flex time will be used to the fullest extent possible,” said Gibbs. Flex time allows an employee, who might work more than the required hours on Monday, work less on another day to stay at 40 or less hours per week.

County employees can also use compensatory time for hours worked in excess during the pay period. The non-exempt employee may take compensatory time off instead of receiving a cash payment for overtime worked. They are compensated 1 1/2 hours for each hour of overtime worked if they work more than 40 hours in the week. If they work between 32.5 and 40 hours, they may take compensatory time off at 1 hour for each hour worked.

The county’s policy, said Assistant Prosecutor Eric Ambos, states employees can accrue 40 hours of compensatory time.

The proposed policy, said Ambos, would allow board of election employees to accrue 80 hours of compensatory time. All time must be used within 180 of earning it.

“The employee will have the choice between overtime or compensatory time,” said Gibbs. “The county policy is written like that.

“We want to raise the compensatory time to 80 hours to give us some room to maneuver,” said Gibbs.

The board of elections adopted the county’s employee and manual in 2008, which includes the compensation and flex time guidelines.

“It’s appropriate for us to not change the county policy,” said Gibbs. “But we can make this recommendation to the commissioners.”

In other business, the board:

• Heard a presentation from Jose Trejo, elections specialist with Triad Governmental Systems Inc. concerning software for the board’s voter information system. The proposal was taken under advisement.

• Considered a proposal for voting equipment purchase from ES&S. The proposal was taken under advisement.

• Learned the VFW on Wapakoneta Avenue will be available for the May election but not the November election. The board is looking for a facility for the seven precincts which are at the VFW on Election Day. Gibbs said the AMVETS had offered their building as a voting location. “We are open to suggestions,” said Gibbs. “We feel it’s a honor to be a polling location and not a nuisance.”

• Approved a polling place agreement. The commissioners will sign the contract with the entity that is serving as a polling location. “The contracts will be brought to our board to be voted on,” said Gibbs. “The chairman will sign off on it and then it will be sent to the commissioners for their approval.”

• Was updated on the Winter Conference.

• Excused the absence of board member Jon Baker.

• Set the board appointment and organization meeting for Monday, March 4. Two seats are up for reappointment – those held by Republican Gibbs and Democrat Merrill Asher. The executive committees for the Democrat and Republican committees will make a nomination for the seats. The nominations are sent to the Secretary of State’s Office for his approval.

• Approved bills which have been filed for audit.

The board’s next meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 a.m.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.