Sparks Fly Over Threat To Cut Registrars’ Hours In Half

The Stamford Advocate has the story <read>

The city’s registrars of voters, in a pitch to the city’s Board of Estimate and Taxation on Monday evening, made a plea that their full-time jobs escape the budget axe.

In the proposed 2009-10 operating budget, Karen Doyle Lyons and Stuart Wells, the Republican and Democratic registrars of voters, respectively, are facing having their pay cut from $46,800 to $23,800.

Both argued there is more than enough work in the registrars’ office.

“We simply need three full-time people to do this stuff,” Wells said while outlining the registrars’ office year-round workload, including elections…

“I urge caution in precipitous staffing changes that may render it very difficult for Norwalk to meet its obligations under Connecticut law and expose you to greater costs in the event of non-compliance of fines,” Deputy Secretary of the State Lesley D. Mara wrote…

An irritated Mayor Richard Moccia responded the letter was “an implied threat” and criticized Mara for involving herself in the city’s budget process after he learned from Doyle Lyons and Wells that the state’s election-related technology will occasionally break down.

We are on the side of the registrars and agree with Deputy Mara.   Their salary is hardly excessive at $46,800 for full time, while a total of three full time registrars and deputies seems reasonable for a town of Norwalk’s size, with about 37,000 votes for President in November.

If we want to talk excessive, look at Hartford!  Hartford had about 34,000 voters for President in November and  now has three full time registrars at $80,000 each.  Just two at $80,000 is excessive especially considering that each registrar (including the third) has a full time deputy.

(As we have pointed out before, we are pleased that Hartford has a third registrar and dissapointed that Hartford cannot right-size the hours and staff in the Registrars’ Office to fit the job)

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