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Panel approves pay increase for poll workers as city clerk starts recruiting

The hours are long, but it only happens a few times a year. 

The only job requirements are a desire to help fellow citizen’s cast their ballot and workers must be a qualified voter in the city.

Now the office with oversight for the city’s elections is looking for civic-minded people willing to work Election Day at one of the city’s five polling sites. To help in that effort, the city’s Human Resource Committee approved a bump in pay for the workers who juggle election laws to ensure the public can exercise its right to vote.

Long paid the state minimum wage, the panel approved a wage of $10.52 an hour.

“We’re just finding it harder and harder to recruit election workers,” said City Clerk Terri Kalan. “ … With minimum wage being $7.25 an hour, it’s hard to get people to give up a day at work and work a 15-hour day.”

Many of the poll workers are retirees who say they’ve served in that role long enough, Kalan said. After reviewing city wage scales, and what other Wisconsin communities pay poll workers, Kalan made a wage adjustment suggestion she believes is “fair.”

Human Resources Director Cammi Koneczny said poll workers, unlike other unbenefited city employees, are managed entirely by the City Clerk’s Office and previously weren’t included on the city’s salary index. However, she recommended that change so poll workers, like crossing guards, get regular wage adjustments when approved by the City Council.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Councilor Denise McDonald.

“They play a very important role, making sure that elections are transparent and in compliance with state laws,” Kalan said. “There are ever changing laws that they are required to keep up with. And everyone expects 100 percent accuracy from them.”

The city is seeking people to fill both the election inspector and chief inspector roles. Chief inspectors also receive an additional $50 a day and are responsible for the polling place on Election Day.

For information on the requirements or an application, call the City Clerk’s Office at 715-395-7200.