Rome News-Tribune

Major overhaul of elections office planned

♦ County Commission­ers will consider upgrades that could boost the budget by $100,000.

- By Diane Wagner

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.

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