ROGERSVILLE — The newest member of the Hawkins Co. Election Commission, Republican Joyce Simon, took her seat at the table during the board’s April 10 meeting.
Retired from Rural Health, Simon said she enjoys staying busy doing community-service work, serving on the Historical Zoning Commission for Rogersville, and also on the Health, Education and Facilities Board for Hawkins County.
Simon replaces Luke Lee who chose to not seek reappointment.
The remaining members of the board — Nancy Heck, Teresa Greer, Nancy Woods Trent, and Ralph Trent — were reappointed recently by the Tennessee State Election Commission to new two-year terms.
At the meeting on Friday, members voted to elect Heck as chairman and Greer as secretary.
According to state regulations, the chairman must be a member of the majority political party (at the current time, a Republican), and the secretary a member of the minority party (a Democrat).
In other matters the board:
• Voted to increase the wages paid to two election machine technicians by $2 per hour.
The two techs received a one dollar per hour increase last year, bringing their pay to $21 per hour, but Board Member Greer said that, at the time, it was the first raise they had had in more than 10 years.
“Some people may think they are overpaid but they have the weight of the world on their shoulders when it comes to keeping those machines going during elections,” Greer said. “Both are very competent and hard workers. They know and understand the process and I would hate to lose either of them.”
Administrator of Elections Donna Sharp agreed. “Right now, we own 71 machines and when we get the new ones, we will have 80,” she said. “It’s a very big responsibility.”
“I personally think they ought to have a raise,” Chairman Heck commented.
A motion to grant the $2 per hour raise was approved unanimously.
• Discussion was held regarding the need for a new copier for the office but no decision was made.
• Sharp asked members to call a special meeting prior to April 29, the date she has to present the board’s proposed 2015-16 budget to the Budget Commission of the Hawkins Co. Commission, to review the document and to recommend any changes.
The board set Tuesday, April 28 at 4 p.m. for that purpose and to also approve the lease of a copier for the office.
• Voted to give Sharp the authority to submit to the County Commission a budget amendment requesting the transfer of funding, if necessary, to accommodate members’ travel and participation in a state-sponsored election seminar in Nashville from June 7-10.
About $5,358 remains in the budget for travel and education, and money remains in some other areas that could be transferred, but since all five commission members, Sharp, and the two election machine technicians are required to attend, the cost for those eight persons may be closer to $6,500, which would require approval by the Co. Commission.
• If the state Election Commission approves, the board voted to not meet in June due to all members’ attendance at the seminar.
• Due to a scheduling conflict, the Commission’s May meeting will be held at 4 p.m. on the 11th. Because of the change in time from 3:30 p.m., persons planning to attend the April 28 and May 11 meetings should enter the building through the glass-enclosed entryway between the Courthouse and the Annex.