Major overhaul of elections office planned
Floyd County Commissioners are scheduled to consider on Tuesday a major restructuring of the election department aimed at modernizing and improving operations that have stayed relatively the same for decades.
Recommendations from the Board of Elections and Registration center around staffing, and pay rates that can attract and retain qualified workers.
Among them is the official placement of Vanessa Waddell as chief elections clerk at a salary of $65,000. The position currently offers a starting range of $34,405 to $37,925, which is much lower than in surrounding counties. In Bartow the pay tops $60,000. In Polk and Gordon counties, with populations at half of Floyd’s, it’s around $45,000 to $55,000.
The upgrade comes in the wake of a grueling and controversial election season that included the discovery of 2,500 uncounted ballots during a hand recount of the November presidential election. The Georgia State Election Board has scheduled an Aug. 18 hearing on the matter, which local officials characterized as a technical issue caused by human error.
The county elections board also is recommending the creation of two new positions: a deputy elections clerk with a salary range of $37,851 to $47,314, and a senior elections clerk with a hiring range of $32,335 to $40,419 a year.
To offset the payroll bump that will occur with the new positions, the elections board wants to convert the two existing full-time clerk positions to part-time. The salaries for those election assistants would equal $26,791 to $33,498 a year.
The restructuring is expected to add up to $102,000 to the elections department budget to cover the increase in salaries and benefits.
The County Commission caucuses at 4 p.m. and starts its regular meeting at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave. Both sessions are public.
The board also will hold an 8 a.m. public hearing there on the proposed 2021 property tax rate. A final hearing and vote to set the millage rate is scheduled for the 6 p.m. meeting.
No increase from the 2020 rate is planned, although property values have gone up this year and many taxpayers would see a slight increase in their bill if the millage rate remains the same.