Controversy Erupts At Election Commission Meeting

Controversy over the Administrator of Elections Salary highlighted the monthly meeting of the Cannon County Election Commission Monday night at the Election Administration Office.

Chairman Lindbergh Dennis along with Commission Members Sue Patrick, Jackie Gannon, Louise Mayo and Matt Studd were in attendance.  Cannon County Election Adminstrator Stan Dobson also attended the meeting.

Administrator Dobson talked about the recent TACEO (Tennessee Association of County Election Officials) Meeting.  It is no longer necessary that the Election Office purchase the printer for the picture Identification cards as the responsibility will be the Tennessee Department of Safety's.

However, Dobson advised that he still wants to purchase the new IPoll computers, buying one computer for each precinct in the County.  He will be able to do so at a package rate but will bring the matter up at another meeting closer to March of 2012.

The commissioners unanimously approved the written guidlines for keeping voter lists current and procedures on purging voter lists.

An ADA accessibility check was conducted at voting precincts during the last election. Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee were impressed by the results they ended up taking a picture of two Cannon County Poll Workers for a brochure dealing with poll worker training tips.

Dobson reviewed the policy of felons attempting to register to vote when they apply for a driver's license.  The application must be marked void and the office sends a voter appeal request form and rejected reason letter to the person to give them an opportunity to reply.

Commissioner Patrick then brought to the attention to the rest of the commissioners some controversial new business. Commissioner Patrick had been contacted by the County Executive's Office a couple of weeks ago asking why the Commission had approved an increase in Dobson's salary.

Commissioner Patrick responded by saying that to her knowledge they had not. Commissioner Patrick stated that when the Election Commission had discussed the budget, as a group they asked Dobson if the figure that he had presented to them of $54,000 was 90% of the Tax Assessor's salary, to which Dobson acknowledged it was. The original salary request was $51,976.00.

The adminstrator of election's salary is set at 90% of the salary of the Tax Assessor.  The Election Commission was in confusion as they had thought that the basis of the $2600 raise was based on an hourly figure vs. hours worked a week, when in essence it should have been a flat salary figure regardless of hours worked.

It was also unknown at the time Dobson presented the budget with the salary increase what the tax assessor makes per year.  In a meeting with the Cannon County Budget Committee, Dobson rescinded the raise request.  After some more discussion, there was no action taken on the matter and the meeting adjourned.