Archive for Thursday, September 7, 2006

Election workers get pay raise

September 7, 2006

In a move that is hoped will attract more election workers, the Johnson County Commission last Thursday approved a pay hike for the 1,200 election workers.

In doing so, commissioners approved the transfer of $49,700 from the county's general fund reserves to fund the wage increases for the remainder of this year.

The pay for an election worker will be $110 for the Nov. 7 general elections. That's a $35 increase from the past pay of $85.

The election workers are not alone. Supervising judges also will be paid more, going from $100 to $135, and temporary team leaders will receive an hourly pay of $9.75 per hour. In the past, their hourly salaries ranged from $8.75 to $9.38.

The new pay levels will remain for future elections as well, but the base rate for the required training sessions for election workers will remain unchanged at $15 for each session, averaging three hours.

Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian Newby said the new salary levels will now parallel the wages of election workers in other Kansas City jurisdictions. For example, Jackson County, Mo., pays workers $125 and supervising judges $135. In Kansas City, Mo., the pay ranges from $130 to $150 for election workers, depending on their position.

Johnson County election day workers start before 6 a.m. and do not leave until about 8 p.m., averaging a minimum of a 14-hour work day. Based on the old salary level, the election worker's hourly wage was $6.07 per hour; the supervising judges received $7.15 per hour. With the wage increase approved Thursday, the hourly pay for workers will be $7.86. The supervising judges will average $9.64 for their work.

In a separate request, the commissioners authorized the election office to transfer $375,000 from general fund reserves for costs associated with the upcoming elections.

Four hours after the commissioner's decision, Newby took the oath of office from Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh to serve a second term as Johnson County's election commissioner. The ceremony took place at the Johnson County Election Office in Olathe.

"Commissioner Newby has done a wonderful job of not only making voting as easy and accessible as possible for Johnson County residents, but also leading the state in taking advantage of new technology to encourage voters to get to the polls," Thornburgh said.

Earlier this month, Newby's work to create an election information notification program through iPod usage received an award for "2006 Best Professional Practice" by the Election Center, a national non-profit organization made up of public election officials.

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