Board balks at $40 an hour for election workers

FLINT TWP. — After months of debate and requests for recommendations, the board settled the issue of what the township will pay employees who work on elections – at least for this year – at its Dec. 3 meeting.

The Flint Township Board of Trustees voted 5-2 to pay two clerical workers who worked on the Nov. 6 election their regular wages, plus overtime and time and a half.

Originally, the clerk’s staff was paid $50 an hour to work the election, but some board members thought that amount was too much. Clerk Kathy Funk then came back with a recommended $40 an hour, which was rejected by the board Monday night.

Trustee Barb Vert has led the opposition to the $50 and $40 an hour, stating she thinks both amounts are too high.

“This has been going on for months,” said Vert. “The township board sets pay for election workers. There was a disruption, prior to the election in November. The meeting (of the election commission) did not take place during the last election cycle. Their pay was submitted for $50 per hour. Then $40. I don’t agree with $40, and certainly not $50.”

Vert went on to say while she appreciates all the work they do, she doesn’t understand why they can’t be paid their regular pay with overtime.

Trustee Frank Kasle said he disagreed, adding he supports the recommended $40 per hour.

“It’ a pretty high figure, but these individuals who do this work do an outstanding job,” said Kasle. “I believe they are well worth it. We’re not talking about a lot of money, but it is a reward for work well done.”

Funk referred to the audit of the Nov. 6 election, completed Monday, which she said went “extremely well.” lection audit

“We had all of our ducks were in a row. I’m proud of my team,” said Funk. “We areeither right in line with or below (the rates paid) compared to other communities. I’m just trying to right this ship here.”

Funk went on to explain that as clerk she cannot be part of a receiving board. All election documents that come in on election night she has to step back from.

“I need two people in place to do my job, which I am not allowed to do by statue,” said Funk. “We’re talking about two people here. I also spoke to the (Michigan) township association. They said the board should set the rate.”

Vert argued that in her discussions with the MTA she was never told the board should set the rate. “There’s still time to submit payment for these two individuals,” said Vert. “It should have been told to these employees payment had to be approved by the board.”

Supervisor Karyn Miller said the rate for election workers has been $10.50 for years. At the next election commission meeting she said the issue of pay for the clerical staff and other election workers needs to be discussed and changed.

The original motion to pay the staff $40 an hour failed with Miller, Vert, Treasurer Lisa Anderson and Trustee Carol Pfaff Dahl voting no.

A second motion, to pay the clerical staff their regular pay, plus overtime, and the volunteers their usual rate was then approved, with Funk and Kasle voting against the proposal. Funk said the matter will eventually need to be taken up again by the election commission to come back with a new pay standard.

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