Luzerne County Courthouse
                                 File photo

Luzerne County Courthouse

File photo

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Poll workers will receive an extra $60 — $30 per hour — for staying two hours later the night of the Nov. 8 general election, Luzerne County’s Election Board unanimously decided during a special meeting Monday.

A shortage of paper for the ballot marking devices at polling places had prompted the county to resort to the extreme measure of keeping all polling places open from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

During public comment before Monday’s meeting, Joe Decker, an elected judge of elections at Pittston’s Ward 4 polling place, predicted the county will lose a large number of poll workers due to problems that arose in the Nov. 8 general.

Decker said he did not receive an Election Day court order about the extended voting hours until 9:30 p.m., and he also complained about a lack of communication.

“This can never happen again,” Decker said.

The standard Election Day pay is $230 for judges of elections and $195 for other poll workers, the election bureau said.

Election Board Chairwoman Denise Williams said that is around the pay “ceiling” permitted by state law, but county Assistant Solicitor Paul Radick advised the board has authority to pay extra in this situation because the additional two hours were not contemplated in the law.

Radick said the board should work with the election bureau on an appropriate amount, Williams said.

Board members discussed several pay options and ultimately supported Board member Danny Schramm’s proposal of $30 per hour.

Schramm said poll workers had to put in a long day and that the pay should “show some appreciation.”

Board member Audrey Serniak said she agrees as long as the funding is available.

County Acting Election Director Beth McBride confirmed the compensation for additional hours is eligible for coverage through the county’s state election integrity grant.

Board member Alyssa Fusaro said she is a fiscal conservative but agreed with the recommended pay because of “what we put the poll workers through this time around.” It is worth “keeping our poll workers happy at this point,” she said.

Jim Mangan, the remaining board member, had proposed an amount close to $30 and was supportive of Schramm’s suggestion.

Williams asked if all poll workers stayed for the extra two hours. McBride said she had verified only one did not and was awaiting confirmation of a possible second one in Hazleton.

In the second public comment, Decker asked when poll workers will receive their pay.

McBride said her goal is to process the payments by the end of this week. A separate vendor number must be created for each poll worker, and Administrative Services Division Head Jennifer Pecora stressed these accounts cannot be set up if poll workers did not provide required information.

McBride said the bureau wanted to wait for the board’s decision before releasing any checks so poll workers could receive both the regular and additional pay in one check.

Williams thanked Decker for serving as a poll worker.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.