NORWICH – It’s the changing nature of the work that warrants a raise, according to the Republican and Democratic commissioners of the Chenango County Board of Elections.
Republican Commissioner Mary Lou Monahan and Democratic Commissioner Carly Hendricks defended a request for an employee raise before the county’s Personnel Committee earlier this month – a request that was subsequently approved by unanimous vote of the county Board of Supervisors on Monday.
Supervisors passed a resolution authorizing a bump in the department’s starting pay, increasing the pay for elections clerks from $15.71 per hour to $17.71 per hour. And while it wasn’t the $3 increase Monahan and Hendricks had requested, the pay hike may make future vacancies more palatable to prospective employees.
“Elections is a completely different department,” said Hendricks, citing changes in recent years that have forced elections employees to adjust to new voting laws, new technology, and strict new state and federal processes. “We feel, in order to attract the right person, we need to have better compensation.”
With election season here, Monahan said hopes are that the new pay rate will be enough to attract the right people with the right skillset.
In addition to the pay increase for elections clerks, the county Board of Supervisors also approved an increase of salaried work hours for the Democratic and Republican commissioners. Rather than 30 hours per week, their salaries will now reflect 35 hours per week. Their annual salaries will go from $48,865 to $57,002.
Chenango County will hold three elections this year, with early voting permitted nine out of the 10 days before each election. Monahan said being fully staffed and having more work hours available to her and Hendricks would relieve some of the burden of working required extra hours.