Election workers won't get raise this year

The Huntington County Council declined to consider increasing pay for poll workers this year during its meeting on Monday, Oct. 27.

Ken Zuk, a member of the Huntington County Election Board, made the request to council, which Council President Kendall Mickley says was simply not possible to grant.

"We already finalized that money at the beginning of 2014," he explains. "The discussion was made with all of the department heads that, hey, any reviews of positions and increases would be effective 2015 budget year.

"So, it would've been unfair to do something different for that and especially when it's going to cost us additional monies."

Mickley noted, though, that council might be amenable to a pay raise for poll workers next year.

"I think we could be open to that if we go to the vote centers and things like that," he says. "It's going to be a net win because you're going to have less workers, you're going to save money."

Mickley also stated that any pay increase for poll workers would need to go through the compensation committee first before council would approve it.

"I want to make sure that we're paying a fair wage ... let's pay the best way and not use an arbitrary number," he says.

While poll workers' pay may remain the same for the time being, county employees can look forward to a 1.5 percent cost of living pay bump starting the first of the year.

Employees will be eligible for a second increase at the same rate in November if they receive high marks on performance reviews, which department heads will present to council for approval in October.

Councilman Todd Landrum made the motion for the pay raise, which passed by a vote of 6-1.

Huntington County Sheriff Terry Stoffel made a presentation about mechanical and electrical repairs proposed for the county jail by structural engineering firm DLZ. With those repairs carrying a price tag of $1.6 million, Mickley called Stoffel's presentation an "eye-opener."

Though those proposed improvements might come at a high cost, Mickley said that they would not be unwarranted, given the jail's age.

Mickley cited the Public Safety Local Option Income Tax as a way to fund the jail repairs, but noted the importance of "making sure we're not putting too much on to it."

"Right now, we're a little bit short," he continued. "So we're going to have to figure out what we can do to get that done at the lowest cost to the taxpayer, but also be good stewards of the money."