The Summit County Board of Elections is taking a closer look at its budget, now that the county is divvying out much less than the board requested.
The elections board requested $9.6 million to operate in 2012. The county offered only $4.7 million.
Board Chairman Tim Gorbach says firmer estimates are needed from employees to determine things like overtime and temporary staffing so everything is lined up for the primary election in March.
"There are a lot of deadlines and we can't just decide that we'll put that work off until later," said Gorbach.
Specifically, issues such as properly entering information from 27,000 voter registration cards and matching signatures to prevent voter fraud, are among the assignments underway now. Board staffers admit they're behind. Board Director Ron Koehler and Deputy Director Kim Zurz seemed to agree that in addition to lower staffing levels, there are too many employees who are simply not pulling their weight.
Listen below as Alex Arshinkoff, then Tim Gorbach weigh in during today's meeting
"I don't like the tail wagging the dog," said Gorbach. "If there are employees here who feel they are above doing certain things or do not do things because that's what the part timers are supposed to do, you have my full blessings to get that under control."
Board member Alex Arshinkoff said there are plenty of people who would take the jobs of those who under perform. He also told Zurz, to come up with and analyze productivity reports.
Staffing is one of the areas pointed out by county officials as a reduction target, mainly that there is too much duplication - a Republican and Democrat for too many positions. While the elections board doesn't seem to think too many employees is the problem, a more critical look at the quality of employees appears to be up for further discussion.
Zurz told board members that she and Koehler are doing a better job of obtaining temporary staff members who are qualified and capable of doing the clerical tasks that they're hired to do. She says they've spent too much time correcting mistakes made by the temporary help.