The Woodward News

Local News

November 5, 2013

Raise to include election board officers

Woodward, Okla. — Woodward County Commissioners decided Monday that they don't want election board officers left out of county raises again.

During their Oct. 21 meeting, the county commissioners approved a 2 percent cost of living pay raise for almost all county employees as part of the county's $4.2 million budget for FY 2013-2014.

While the raise didn't include the county's elected officials, the commissioners had intended for all other county employees to receive the pay increase.

But during their latest meeting on Monday, the commissioners learned that wasn't the case for the 2 salaried employees at the Woodward County Election Board.

District 1 County Commissioner Tommy Roedell said he didn't realize that the election board secretary and chief clerk were not included in that increase.

"When we gave the raises in the budget, I assumed they were included," Roedell said.

However, County Clerk Charolett Waggoner explained that since the election board officials "are paid differently," their salaries had not been adjusted along with everyone else's.

Waggoner said that the election officials' salaries are determined by the State Election Board, which also reimburses the county for the election board secretary's salary.  Because of this, she said for many years the election board officers didn't receive raises along with the other county officers.

"But back in 2011 the State Election Board said that counties could supplement election board officials' pay," she said.

So in 2011, Waggoner said the county commissioners approved supplementing the election board secretary position with an additional $500 per month and the chief clerk position with another $450 per month.

She said these increases were made to offset the fact that neither position had received a raise from the state in 6 years.

No cost of living increases were approved by the county in 2012, Waggoner said, so there wasn't a question of whether to increase the election board member's salaries until this year when commissioners approved the 2 percent raise for other county workers.

The Woodward County Election Board then wrote a letter to the county commissioners, in which they asked for "clarification as to whether the election board should receive the cost of living raises with the other Woodward County employees."

After the commissioners indicated that they had not intended to exclude the election board officials, they acted quickly to resolve the matter once and for all.

"I make a motion that thy be treated as Woodward County employees and that they receive raises now and anytime in the future that any other county employees receive raises," Roedell said.

District 3 Commissioner Vernie Matt quickly seconded and the motion passed unanimously with a vote of approval from District 2 Commissioner Randy Johnson.

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