Board promotes person in charge of elecetion filings
The person in the position supervises 2.5 people. She was at range 15 on the salary schedule, making $14.88 to $17.87 per hour.
County policy would give her about 10 percent more pay than the people she supervises, putting her at range 18 in the mid-management bargaining unit, according to county Human Resources Director Ron Vossler. Based on the position’s duties and responsibilities, he recommended a promotion to range 18, making $16.25 to $19.54 per hour.
Bustamante asked the board to promote the senior clerk to range 20, making $17.81 to $21.45 per hour. The promotion would mean a 20 percent salary increase.
“This person is in charge of the recorder’s division,” Bustamante said at the Aug. 28 meeting. “She does make key decisions. She decides what documents are valid, which ones can’t be recorded. She supervises staff. Just because there’s only 2.93 employees on paper in that division does not accurately reflect how our office functions and works.”
The person is in charge of campaign filings and working with the Fair Political Practices Commission and all the candidates who come file for election, Bustamante said. She is also currently training the elections supervisor.
According to Bustamante, the supervisor not only trains and supervises the people in her division, but also supervises others because there are only seven people in the clerk-recorder’s office.
“She recruits and trains more than 100 poll workers,” Bustamante said.
The supervisor wrote the poll worker manual and keeps it updated with the constant change in election law. She also oversees marriage licenses and death certificates.
“This position is key,” Bustamante said. “It is important. It does supervise more than it shows on paper.”
She added she was giving up a range 26 assistant clerk recorder position in order to have three division directors in a reorganization of her office: one in charge of the clerk and elections functions, one as clerk of the board of supervisors and one to lead the recorder’s division. She said different laws govern each division and each division needs a manager.
Vossler said his recommendation was not an evaluation of the incumbent in the position, nor a challenge to the authority of the clerk recorder. He said it was based on the duties of the assigned position and must stand the test of time for the next incumbent and the next recruitment effort.
The board approved the reclassification on a 3-2 vote. Supervisors Brian Dahle and Lloyd Keefer voted no during both meetings. Supervisor Jim Chapman, who was absent during the tie vote on Aug. 21, cast the tie-breaking yes vote at the Aug. 28 meeting.
Supervisor Jack Hanson, who voted in favor of the reclassification, said personnel issues should be decided based on duties and responsibilities instead of how many people are supervised.
“Personnel issues are a no-win deal,” Hanson said.
He suggested Bustamante bring back the proposal for reorganizing her department as soon as possible.
Vossler said if elected officials have free reign to decide the classification of their employees, there was no point in having a personnel department to make recommendations.
District 1 Supervisor Bob Pyle, who also voted in favor of the range 20 classification, said, “Ron is taking this much too personally,” and pointed out the board doesn’t always do what staff recommends.
“Obviously, if we rubber stamped everything (staff) told us, they don’t need us,” Pyle said. “I mean, just let the staff run the county.”
Pyle said the board needs staff input and when the board doesn’t take a staff recommendation, it’s because board members are taking other considerations into account. Every office is different, he said, and the board can’t apply the same standards across the board.
Board Chairman and District 4 Supervisor Brian Dahle said personnel issues are difficult because the board members know many of the employees. Dahle said “Our job as elected people is to manage a budget and manage personnel,” adding if department heads decide the range and classification of their employees, the board might as well “do away with the personnel department.”
Chapman said he voted in favor of the range 20 classification because the board had to defer to Bustamante.
“She has to answer to voters for the performance of her office,” Chapman said, later adding, “I’d like to see this plan implemented and pursued.”
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