The [County] Checks Are in the Mail
One casualty of Montgomery's ongoing budget constraints appears to be the hundreds of residents who served as poll workers during the special election contests in April and May to fill the open County Council seat of the late Marilyn Praisner.
As of early this week, many were still waiting for their paychecks because of what elections officials said was a request from the county's budget office to delay payments until the fiscal year started of the new fiscal year on July.1.
Glenn R. Johnson of Rockville put in more than 59 hours for in training, preparation and the elections.
"If I performed this much work for a company and did not get paid for services rendered, some agency of the government would be clamoring all over the company and probably threatening to fine or shut it down," Johnson wrote in an e-mail to the Board of Elections and to Leggett. "It is easy to understand why the board is always seeking new workers year after year."
Elections workers are paid between $50 and to $200 for each election, depending on their role, and between $30 and to $50 for training sessions.
In response to Johnson's e-mail, elections spokeswoman Marjorie Roher said that processing typically takes six weeks, but that elections staff members were swamped because they were busy preparing for the special elections. Roher initially said that the board also was asked to delay payments until July.1 because of the "current fiscal situation of the county."
That was news to Joseph Beach, the budget director. In a follow-up conversation, Roher explained that she had been given inaccurate information and that the idea to delay the checks was actually initiated by elections officials during a discussion about the budget shortfall. and that She said budget officials had "concurred" with the plan.
Checks for the April and May elections were cut on July.3, Roher said, and should arrive no later than today7/10. Payment for service during a third special election in June, to fill the congressional seat left vacant by the resignation of former representative Albert R. Wynn (D), are is scheduled to arrive within the usual time period, by the end of the month.
"While the Board of Elections certainly sympathizes with the frustration, it is really important for people to remember that we had three extra elections," said Roher, who has been fielding daily calls from unhappy election judges. "We have done the absolute best we could do within our limitations."
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