The Porter County
Council last night approved $65,000 in transfers that will allow poll
workers to be paid double the normal rates for the 2018 general election.
decision follows a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners Tuesday
morning where the Commissioners unanimously approved doubling pay for poll
workers in the wake of an election that prompted the Commissioners to call
in the FBI, Indiana State Police, and Indiana Secretary of State’s office to
investigate allegations of violations of election law after a three-day
delay in results. The election also prompted a bevy of complaints from poll
workers who were asked to do the work of multiple people and worked a
20-hour day on Nov. 6.
The Council voted
unanimously to double the pay this year for poll workers from $135 to $270
for inspectors and from $110 to $220 for clerks and judges.
Graham, D-At-large, abstained from the vote because she was a judge in this
Vicki Urbanik also announced that her office has been able to process the
paperwork for most of the poll workers, who will be paid next Friday--not
only earlier than usual, but the first day they could have been paid based
on the County’s payroll schedule.
“We have about 50
people we don’t have the payroll forms for. The Clerk’s office hasn’t
provided that,” Urbanik said.
Urbanik said, may need to fill-out and submit new payroll forms. Urbanik
said she will continue trying to get the forms from the Clerk’s office, but
she will mail out new forms if she has to in order to make sure those
workers are paid on the next County payday after Dec. 7.
Councilwoman Karen Conover, R-3rd, commended Urbanik and her staff for
fast-tracking the pay.
needed to be raised,” said Councilman Dan Whitten, D-At-large.
Jessen, R-4th, confirmed the new rates are only retroactive to poll workers
in this year’s general election, but Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South,
said from the audience that the Board of Commissioners plans to collaborate
with the Council and Urbanik to permanently raise poll worker pay.
A permanent raise
is what Bill Perry, a Portage resident and inspector in this year’s election
wants to see.
Perry spoke during
the public comment period to expand on a letter he sent to the Council.
Perry said he, like
many others, worked a 20-hour day on Nov. 6 and was asked to do more than
one job. Perry’s assignment was to be the inspector for precinct 19, but
when he arrived he was asked to cover precinct 31 as well.
“I don’t think its
fair to have people do double, triple, and quadruple duty and then not pay
them for it,” Perry said, adding that his interpretation of Indiana law is
that it provides for poll workers to be paid for more than one position.
Perry also had a
strong opinion on how Clerk Karen Martin handled the election.
“This is not an
issue of Democrat or Republican, it’s an issue of somebody who forgot that
the definition of an elected official is to be a public servant and serve
the people you are elected by. If you think you’re a king or some sort of
lord, you’ve forgotten what you’re supposed to be and you need to leave
Perry proposed that
the pay for poll workers should be a minimum of $400 per person.
increase is a Band-Aid over a bullet hole because everybody I’ve talked to
is saying ‘I’m never doing this again,’” Perry added.