MAYVILLE - Next year was already looking to be a busy one for the county Board of Elections, and the proposed cuts to the department's budget are only going to complicate things.
Both the county's two election commissioners addressed lawmakers Tuesday during the legislature's second day of budget review.
Republican Election Commissioner Brian Abram told the Administrative Services Committee that 2012 is going to be as difficult a year as possible for the Board of Elections, and that's before incorporating the county executive's proposed cuts.
The county's two election commissioners addressed the Administrative Services Committee on Tuesday about the proposed cuts to their department.
P-J photo by Nicholas L. Dean
As it has been proposed, the 2012 budget reduces the departments' budget by 9.8 percent. That cut includes two full-time positions, with no money being provided to the department for part-time staff.
As pointed out by Democratic Election Commissioner Norman P. Green on Tuesday, somebody is going to have to do the elections work - and as it stands right now, the Board of Elections does not have the staff.
"The truth is," Green said, "we have no idea how we're going to do the work that takes place next year. ... That work still has to be done and not only does it have to be done, it has to be done at a greater level next year than any other year as we have the presidential primaries, the local primaries and a 70 percent voter turnout at the November election. Compared to your election this year, which is going to be at a 40 percent voter turnout if you're opposed. If you're unopposed, it's even going to be lower."
EDWARDS ON CUTS
County Executive Greg Edwards spoke with legislators Tuesday, as his office's budget falls under the purview of the Administrative Services Committee. During his time before the committee, Edwards addressed the statements by the Board of Elections - calling their concerns indicative of what legislators have and will continue to hear from all other department heads.
"I think your conversations with the Board of Elections were indicative of what you're going to get from the next conversations you have with other departments coming up," Edwards said. "I didn't want to cut it. They questioned the long-term value of the cut. I wasn't here for your conversations with George Spanos in the Department of Public Facilities, but I assume he used the same analogy with you that he did with me. If you've got a leaky roof, you've got to fix it. If you don't fix it, it works its way down into your house and I think we are at that stage with our budget."