ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart said the Legislature had a rush decision to make last night on new positions for the Board of Elections. The details according to her, on the thin side.
“These are permanent positions that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in the years to come,” says Legislator Barnhart. She adds some of the six new supervisory jobs will have annual pay rates between $76,000 and $98,000.
“And that’s totally inappropriate in a time of a hiring freeze, one of our worst budget deficits ever,” she said.
“I don’t see anything in this that had to be decided last night,” Legislator Howard Maffucci said.
According to Maffucci, the positions presented didn’t have any job descriptions. “The actual explanation of the need…wasn’t that organized.”
Those in favor of creating the positions say there’s been a number of election law changes since COVID-19, and they need to accommodate 256,000 voters with limited staff.
Legislator Frank Allkofer supported the legislation. In a statement he says:
“Both the Republican and Democrat Elections commissioners demonstrated they need the additional staffing due to an increased in the day to day work load of the department. With primary elections scheduled for June, absentee ballets that need to be counted and certified, staff training, preparing for early elections and also the general election. The BOE needs to find sites, train staff, etc. The current election commissioners and staff are being overwhelmed with the workload. The additional proposed employees will be able to assist the existing staff with the current workload.”
— Frank Allkofer, Monroe County Legislature
For Barnhart, she said she knows exactly what this was. “This was a shameful ploy to create jobs for friends at the Board of Elections. We have got to start saying ‘no’ to backroom deals like the one we saw last night,” she says.
To watch the full special meeting of the Monroe County Legislature, click here.