The Porter County
Board of Commissioners approved permanent increases to poll worker pay
Porter County Clerk
Jessica Bailey, in an effort to lure more workers to the polls and keep pace
with other counties, is raising the pay for poll clerks and judges from $110
to $150 per day.
Judges of the party
opposite the Clerk will receive a extra $15 for a total of $165 per day for
Republican judges. Inspectors are being raised from $135 to $190 a day. The
figure is the sum of $175 for serving as inspector and $15 for returning
suitcases at the end of the night.
changes are that inspectors asked to handle multiple precincts will be paid
$50 for each additional precinct, and workers will be paid $50 to attend a
required three-hour training session.
The meal allowance
for workers was also upped from $15 to $20.
Blaney, D-South, said the raises are not only significant, but long overdue.
Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, noted he is the Board member who’s been in
County government the longest, and he can’t recall the last raise.
“I think in some
way it has contributed to how we struggle in every election to find poll
workers,” Biggs said.
Bailey needs 306
poll workers for the upcoming primary May 7. Those interested in working the
polls should contact their respective party chairman. They can also find
poll worker information on the County website or call the Clerk’s office at
Bailey said she’s
already had a lot of interest from people who want to be part of change
after the 2018 general election was rife with problems that included 13
polling places opening late for a lack of poll workers, thousands of
absentee ballots not being delivered on time or counted, and final results
delayed for three days. Poll workers who worked last November were paid
double for the extra-long day’s stressful events.
Biggs said the
public should know things are still on track after recent news coverage. The
Secretary of State recently released suggestions for Porter County elections
going forward and a shouting match at a recent Election Board meeting
prompted the Board president to resign.
been in the paper the last week, I think there’s been a lot of positive
things happening with the election. We’ll see the fruits of that the day
after,” Biggs said. “We’re on the right track. Don’t let one week form your
opened sealed bids for bid package no. 2 at the North County Annex. Skillman
Corp., the County’s construction manager on the $30 million Capital
Improvements plan, will review the bids, and contracts will be awarded at a
special meeting at 10 a.m. on Friday.
approved a $165,936 change order for work at the North County Complex with a
balance to finish of approximately $3.2 million. The change order is to
remove unsuitable soils and import sand for the building pad for the
outbuilding planned for the site.
Scott McClure noted that the unforeseen cost will be shared with the Portage
Township Trustee, who will have a new office and space for the Portage Food
Bank in the outbuilding and is sharing the cost of construction 50/50.
that the County saved money by building on land it already had, but one of
the drawbacks is that land has “some bad pockets.” Biggs also emphasized
that renovations always have hiccups, and the Commissioners factored that in
when they bonded the projects.
In other capital
improvements business, the downtown Valparaiso Courthouse will undergo
window replacement starting now and lasting until the end of May or June.
approved Porter County Tourism’s cooperative agreement to share a portion of
the Innkeeper’s Tax levy with the Expo Center, Memorial Opera House, Museum
Foundation, and Parks Department. All entities get $38,120, except the Parks
Department, which gets $35,640.
The County will be
getting a website upgrade as its hosting company CivicPlus will no longer
support the site’s current platform after this year. Assistant to the
Commissioners Curt Ellis said the upgrade and a redesign is free, per the
contract. Ellis said the new platform will be mobile device-friendly and
easier to navigate.
The Porter County
Election Board will meet at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 in suite 205 of the
Porter County Administration Building, 155 Indiana Avenue, Valparaiso.
The Board is slated
to discuss the resignation of long-time member J.J. Stankiewicz, and his
subsequent replacement, and the Secretary of State’s findings on the causes
of the troubled 2018 general election with suggested changes going forward.
The Board will also
hear a report from the Clerk on poll worker information, ballots, the public
test of voting equipment, early voting, and other updates, as well as
discuss campaign finance reports and upcoming deadlines.
The public is
welcome to attend with its comments and questions.