Election board grants pay raises to four employees

LISBON – Two-percent pay raises were awarded to the two administrators at the Columbiana County elections board and two other employees.

The raises approved at Tuesday’s board meeting would increase the hourly pay of Director Adam Booth and Deputy Director Kim Fusco to $28.36. Also receiving 2-percent raises were deputy clerks Nikki Wilkinson and Donna Klaes.

Booth and Fusco last received a pay raise in 2011, and it was 5 percent. Board member David Johnson said both raises are needed to keep pace with what administrators are paid in other counties and to reflect the additional work all of their employees are performing because of new state mandates.

“I think thanks to the leadership of these individuals … we are operating efficiently and saving money,” he said.

Johnson pointed out how the administration has saved money in recent years:

– Booth discontinued renting the computer work stations used by the staff, which cost $4,800 per year, and instead purchased six new work stations this year for $5,200.

– Moving into a new offices in the county government offices building provided enough additional space to reduce the number of training sessions conducted by the system provider from two days to one day, saving $3,000 per year.

– The larger building allows all voting equipment to be stored on site, saving $4,000 in annual storage rental fees.

– Consolidating polling places saves $1,400 per election for each polling place that was eliminated.

Johnson said the pay raises granted Wilkinson and Klaes – their first in 18 months – also keeps them in the ballpark with what deputy clerks in other county offices are paid.

The elections board has two other deputy clerks who are scheduled to receive automatic pay raises on their anniversary dates.

Johnson said all of their employees do a great job.

The pay raises will cost them an additional $3,500 per year. The elections board has an annual budget of about $600,000, one-third of which goes to staff wages.

In other news, Booth announced the Ohio secretary of state intends to mail early voting applications to all voters, which he said could drive up costs for the Nov. 4 election, depending on how many voters take them up on the offer.

It costs the election board about $1.40 in postage for every early voting packet they mail out. In the 2012 presidential election, more than 10,000 county electors opted to vote early using the absentee ballot.

Booth said sending out applications will undoubtedly result in more people opting to vote early instead of coming out on election day. “It naturally drives things up,” he said.