County Facing Lawsuit Over Election Office Funding

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On the eve of the start of this calendar year's first of three elections, a vote it took Tuesday night could have the Cannon County Commission facing a lawsuit.

The Cannon County Election Office brought a budget amendment request in front of the Budget Committee Tuesday night. The request was to allocate additional funds in the line item of salary to cover the extra hours that Assistant Dorinda Mankin is working.  

The office was budgeted Mankin's salary for a total of 30 hours. Mankin is now having to work 40 hours a week on a regular basis, which is an additional $5,607.00 expense.  

The problem began Tuesday when the Budget Committee took no action on the request and presented it to the full Cannon County Commission for approval. The original request came when the Budget Committee started working on the County Budget last year. The budget request was not approved.  

Tennessee Code 2-12-109 states, "except as otherwise provided by law, it is the responsibility of the county to fund the operations of its election commission. If a county fails to appropriate funds sufficient to pay expenses that are reasonably necessary for the discharge of the statutorily mandated duties of its county election commission, such commission may petition the chancery court of the county in which such election commission is located to compel the appropriation of such funds."

After a motion was made to take the money out of General Fund a vote was cast. The motion failed.

A visibly upset Cannon County Administrator of Elections Stanley Dobson stated that the Commission violated TCA codes and quote "you will hear from us.

"You know what happens when you violate, you answer for it."  

Election Commissioner Matt Studd added, "Only one option now. We now go before the judge and sue this county commission to follow the letter of the TCA Code."

In other action Tuesday:

• The Commissioners approved the Town of Woodbury's annexations of parcels surrounding the city that was made in 2008 and 2009. The approval was necessary because the annexations changed the voting precincts and districts for residents in the those areas. Because the changes were not approved by the commission, some voters apparently cast votes for the wrong candidates in some of the races in the 2010 County General Election, or did not get a chance to vote in the District 5 school board race.

• The Commissioners approved the County General Budget Amendments and the appropriation of funds received from the Homeland Security Grant.

• They agreed to look into options in helping the Circuit Court Clerk and General Sessions Court find more adequate space to house offices and records.

• Thea Prince updated the Commissioners on the Cannon County Solid Waste Study.

• The accountant who oversees the Ambulance Service offsite billing explained the program to the commissioner in depth.

• The Commissioners discussed the needs of Eastside's Volunteer Fire Department on a vehicle to carry the cascade equipment and the repair
needs of the Gassaway's Fire Truck  It was decided to look at various bids for vehicles at the next meeting.

The next scheduled meeting for the Cannon County Commission will be March 13th.

(See next week's print edition Cannon Courier for additional coverage of Tuesday's meeting and its aftermath.)

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Members Opinions:
February 15, 2012 at 6:42am
Why must we always take the most challenging road to solve the issues we face?

If the work is being done then pay the woman what she is entitled to be paid.

If we can drop $25,000 on a lawsuit to possibly keep it from turning into more money later on down the road why would this be any different?

Especially considering work is actually being performed in this case vs. no work being done at all in the other case.

February 15, 2012 at 7:14am
I wonder whether the issue is one of money. It appears to be based on power. The County Commission sets the pay for personnel in other county offices. The Election Office is different than, say, the County Executive's Office, in that the County Executive's Office does not have an intervening commission, as does the Election Office, which plays a role in the setting of compensation. Therefore the law allows for the Election Commission to seek a third, neutral, party - the Chancery Court - to settle the dispute.
February 15, 2012 at 9:38am
Yeah I understand what you are saying, but not all offices in the courthouse are set by the County Commissioners. Some of those offices pay their employee’s salaries based off fees that are brought in to that office.

And, even if it is about power and not money then it still leaves the question as to why it always seems that we have to take the hardest road to solve something that is a simple fix.

If this lawsuit goes through then this will be at least the 3rd time in the last twenty years that the County has been sued by an elected official in order to make them pay what was owed or fund the services that were needed.

They lost the previous two times and had to pay and if I was a betting man I would lay 2 to 1 odds they will lose again.

To me that just doesn't make good business sense and it is a waste of taxpayer money to pay our lawyer to fight a losing battle.
February 15, 2012 at 11:15am
I must be missing something. The "hardest road" is part of the process. An office makes a budget request, it is reviewed by the budget committee, then sent to the county commission, sometimes with, sometimes without, a recommendation. Were it not for this process, the commission might as well rubbber stamp every budget request made. That would alleviate the need for a budget committee and seemingly endless budget meetings every year.

You are certainly correct, howver, in that the commission should allocate the funds to pay Dorinda the money she has already earned and move this power struggle to the next fiscal year.
February 15, 2012 at 1:45pm
Well, there's an example of part of the problem Corey. A county commissioner is using the media to pose a question about the Election Office budget rather than picking up the phone, dialing 563-5650, or going to 301 W. Main St., and asking the question directly to the administrator. No wonder an intermediary is needed to resolve the situation.
February 15, 2012 at 1:57pm
In the past (prior to the Cannon County Administrator of Elections being Stanley Dobson)the Cannon County Administrator of Elections and one part-time assistant completed the tasks of the Election Office. What has changed to require the person to now be full-time.
James Adkins
February 15, 2012 at 2:12pm
That's an excellent and logical question to pose to the Election Commission. Would appear as though he is getting hung out to dry in that he provided that body with enough reasons to justify it approving the increase of hours. In my mind that should be the end of his involvement process, and the Election Commission should pick it up from there.
February 15, 2012 at 2:21pm
Kevin I will agree.

A phone call or a visit is the best course of action by all Commissioners if there is a question that requires answers from the Adminstrator concerning the request for more money. Use the media afterwards to explain your stance or relay the response given by Stanley.

I assumed all of that was discussed in the budget committee meeting and again last night in the Commissioners meeting. The time for questions is long overdue and I am not sure why they wouldn't have an understanding of it by now.

James I can't answer completely on what has changed because that to would be a question better directed to the Adminstrator, but I do know from personal conversations with Stanley that the Election Office has spent a lot of time purging rolls of people who were dead, lived out of state, updating out of date items and dealing with three elections in this year alone, etc.

None of that takes into consideration the time, money and effort to make changes to the polling places that were agreed upon, then changed and then agreed upon again despite the unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of this county.

Again for me, it all goes back to the question of why we always have to take the most challenging road possible to solve a problem that should take 10 minutes to fix in my opinion.
February 15, 2012 at 2:30pm
Sorry, just for clarification what I mean by the "most challenging road" is the idea that the County Commissioners will let it proceed to court and have judge decide what is lawful and correct instead of removing the mental block and doing the right thing themselves.

It probably would take less than 10 minutes to fix this if they would stop being political and start governing. We fight the wrong battles when we just don't have to at times.
February 16, 2012 at 7:33pm
Before any budget amendment is taken to the county commission, it is to be approved by the election commission. No where in the minutes of the commission was a $5607 increase approved nor a 40 hour work week for Mankin. This request did not go through proper channels and this item should have never gotten on the commissioner's agenda without minutes being presented showing the election commission approved this. The chairman and the secretary must sign all approved minutes. I am the secretary and I did not sign minutes requesting a 40 hour work week or a $5607 increase. Sue Patrick
February 17, 2012 at 3:36am
Which raises these questions:

1) Have you, or any other election commission member, been aware that Dorinda has been working 40 hours a week?

2) If so, for how long have you, or any other commission member, been aware of that fact.

3) If you, or any other commission member, have been aware that Dorinda has been working a 40 hour week, and the Commission has not been in favor of her doing so, why has the Commission not instructed the Election Administrator to limit her hours to those the Commission approved?

4) Are recordings made of every Election Commission meeting by the Secretary?

5) Dorinda has already worked the hours. Are you in favor of her being compensated for the hours she has worked?

February 17, 2012 at 9:08am

I do not intend to conduct election commission business over the website that has not been discussed in meetings. My previous reply was simply to clarify what had been stated on the website. My opinions are not the issue. The issue is what took place in election commission meetings. Sue Patrick
February 17, 2012 at 9:20am
"I do not intend to conduct election commission business over the website that has not been discussed in meetings."

Sue, you already did that. What transpired at Tuesday night's budget committee and commission meetings has not been discussed at a meeting of the election commission.
February 17, 2012 at 11:12am
I would like to interject some points that I hope will add clarity and not additional confusion to the matters involving the Election Commission, County Commission and Citizens of Cannon County contained in this thread of discussions.

I recognize that the full County Commission is not on record yet, regarding this matter. There were three “no” votes that caused the Budget Amendment action to fail and they were cast by Commissioners’ Tony Neal, Jim Bush and Kevin Higgins. I recognize these three votes do not necessarily reflect the position of the Full Commission. Be assured, I would not make any official request for Court action against Cannon County unless and until the “Full” Commission has made their full response, and hopefully that will occur at their next scheduled meeting. If there are to be needless delays by the Full Commission, option 2 is squarely on the table from my view point and I would ask the Election Commission to proceed accordingly. The outcome of such a motion by vote of Election Commission members would give full weight to this option.

Administrator Stan Dobson is charged with managing the Election Commission office and employees. Not every aspect of such duties are defined or mandated by the Election Commissioners. He makes decisions every day, that can not wait for the Full Commissions' next meeting to discuss.

I stated going into Tuesdays’ meeting, that the Election Commission had two options for our Budget Amendments. 1.) Seek and gain County Budget and Full Commission approval. 2.) If the previous remedy fails, then there is option 2.) Seek court action through petition action to seek Court ordered compliance to our Budget and Amendment request. As I understand, Mike Corley our County Attorney has issued an opinion to County Executive Mike Gannon, months ago advising that such court action by the Election Commission, would likely result in Court ordered granting of such “reasonable” Budget request action. Chairman Bob Sotzel commented he also thought such court action would prevail.

The Election Commission is not a political football to be kicked back and forth in political gamesmanship.

Our Administrator of Elections Stan Dobson has always insisted on all aspects of the Election Commission Office to be proper and legal in all respects and on every issue. I am in full agreement with his passion.

Some matters and topics discussed at Tuesdays’ (2/14/2012)Commission meeting, were in fact discussed at one or more previous Election Commission meetings. Examples of items previously discussed;
1.) Dorinda is an hourly employee, despite references contained in the Election Commission minutes prepared by Commissioner and Sec. Sue Patrick.
2.) The County Commissioners failed to pass the Election Commission’s Budget Amendment, by three (3) “No” votes cast by Tony Neal, Jim Bush and Kevin Higgins. This is NOT the first time the County Commission has voted adversely against the Election Commission’s bipartisan Budget Proposals.
3.) Previous votes by the County Commission rejected a previous request of about $2600.00 for the line item of Assistant hourly wages, that was in fact fully approved by the Election Commission. They also slashed $10,000.00 from another line item.
4.) The Budget Committee, for reasons unknown to me or others at Tuesdays’ meeting, failed again, to properly address Election Commission Budget requests.
5.) The following is an e-mail that I sent months ago (Aug. 29, 2011) regarding the Election Commission budget matters. The header and body will speak for itself as to the parties, contents and intentions.

It reads as follows;

-----Original Message-----
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2011 19:25:33
To: Todd Hollandsworth; Kevin George;
Tony Neal; Kevin Mooneyham;
Clint Higgins
Subject: Fw: Election Commission Budget

Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2011 18:52:02
To: County Executive Mike Gannon; Mark
Barker; ;
Subject: Election Commission Budget

Mike Gannon,
Cannon County Executive

I will not be able to attend the meeting today to discuss the Election Commission's
Budget, but would like to share the following concerns.
1.) Our budget request has been given full bipartisan approval after much discussion
and consideration.
2.) Our budget is not to be treated lightly or with any political overtones, motives
or agendas, as it is an autonomous entity and State Law requires the Counties to
fully fund the costs of the Election Commission's Operational budgets.
3.) Our AOE Stan Dobson has carefully planned and prepared each line item's needs
and saved large amounts of tax payer monies in several areas, including over
$7350.00 that had in previous administrations, been paid out of our County each
4.) Over $231 K was saved when our Commission voted to opt out of the costly paper
ballot process.
5.) Stan has faithfully returned "unspent" balances each year they were present.
6.) Assistant AOE is an "Hourly" position, which normally is about 30 hours per
week. When additional work loads require additional working hours, these additional
hours are paid at straight time. This does Not constitute a "raise" in her wages,
but rather additional hours pay for each additional hour. 7.) State Law provides
Court actions and processes to compel Counties to fully fund the Election
Commission's Budget needs. AOE Stan Dobson advised me today that you had recently
remarked responding to his insistence that his budget be funded--"I guess you'll
just have to take us to court".
I hope that remark was not soliciting court remedies or actions and costs, that
otherwise could be avoided.

Please consider these points in your considerations and decisions.


Matt Studd
Election Commissioner

You asked some very relevant questions above. I don't know if you will get a response from Commissioner Sue Patrick, but you will from me.
1.) Absolutely, it has been discussed a number of times

2.) The "additional" hours aspect has been discussed for months. The recent changing of polling locations back and forth, has added considerable time/labor to address.

3.) I believe the discussions have made all Commissioners aware of the 40 hours. I am not aware of any efforts to limit hours, because the discussions that took place, included the additional reports, record maintenance, data base and file upkeep that is in place now, some of which were not done or required previously.

4.) Yes, Sue Patrick uses a cassett recorder to record the meetings. I do not know if she has every conceeded such or made copies available to any requests.

5.) Yes Dorinda will be paid for any and all hours worked. That is a pledge and a condition made to her and it will be honored. Shame on any Election Commissioners of any political affiliation... who would recount this position.


Matt Studd
Cannon County Election Commissioner (for all Citizens)
February 17, 2012 at 1:50pm
The first question I have is why is this lady being allowed to work 40 hour weeks when she is only budgeted for 30? Nothing against her, I don't blame her at all but something seems wrong with this? When you are a department head/manager and you are given a budget to run an office/dept and you are budgeted "x amount of dollars" for line items, you don't spend more than what you've been alloted? Most places I know of this will get you fired in the private and government sector both. Those are dollar amounts that are voted on and approved for a reason and if someone goes over that without prior approval from the appropriate governing body, there should be consequences. Now, that being said, if there is a need for extra labor at the office of elections, it should be discussed and pursued through the appropriate channels such as being approved by the election commission and then by the county commission at the time of year when the budget is being prepared for the coming year, not in the middle of the budget year when you realize you're not gonna have enough money to keep doing what you should not have been doing initially. This should not have been allowed to happen. If the election commission knew this and allowed it to happen, they should all be replaced and if they didn't know, they should replace AOE Dobson for insubordination, plain and simple. Mr. Studd states:
"Administrator Stan Dobson is charged with managing the Election Commission office and employees. Not every aspect of such duties are defined or mandated by the Election Commissioners. He makes decisions every day,that can not wait for the Full Commissions' next meeting to discuss."
That's very much correct and he should do so within the limitations of his office budget. Kevin asks Stewball:
"3) If you, or any other commission member, have been aware that Dorinda has been working a 40 hour week, and the Commission has not been in favor of her doing so, why has the Commission not instructed the Election Administrator to limit her hours to those the Commission approved?"
No governing body should have to "instruct" a department head/manager to stay within thier budget. This is something any competent individual should be able to do with little to no supervision or instruction. In fact, he should be able to report to the election commission at every meeting that the office is functioning within budget. Another thing to remember is that the assistant is an hourly employee and AOE Dobson is not, he is salaried. What I mean by this is everyone in the working world knows that when you're on salary, you're no longer a Monday-Friday 9-5 40 hour/week employee, you do whatever is required to get the job done even if that requires working extra hours aside from your 40 or one of your off days. I agree that the office is probably very busy right now and will continue to be with 3 elections this year, however this doesn't happen every year and is something could 1. probably be better planned for by everyone involved from the AOE to the County Commission, 2. probably could be accomplished within the current resources by a better management of time and more willingness to get the job done through an effort as valiant and time consuming as filing suit against the county for 10 hours labor for week during a peak time. I don't agree with a lot of what Corey says but I do agree with "why do we always take the hardest road?" I've been in the position of supervisor manager and department head for a number of years and I know that if I could avoid 1. busting my budget, 2. filing suit against my employer (which ultimately will only cost the taxpayers in the end) by working 10 extra hours/week I would do that with a smile and thank the citizens of the county who pay my salary for the opportunity to serve and be able to walk into the election commission meetings and county commission meetings and smile and say I'm proud to be here and serve and have a job and I realize money is tight and this is what I'm doing to make my office function within budget. Power struggles, politics and peeing contests seem to be higher on everyones agendas more often than not unfortunately.
February 17, 2012 at 2:45pm
There is a third party which will likely play a role in resolving this situation, which is the State Election Commission. Above and beyond any other county office which the state Constitution mandates, the State Election Commission is heavily involved in the day-to-day and yearly operations of local election offices. It contributes roughly a third of the AOE's salary each year. The final decision on the funding of the election office, and it's employees, will be made outside of both the election commission and the county commission.
February 17, 2012 at 3:49pm
That's great to hear Kevin and I hope it works out that way cause if the state election commission is helping to fund it, they should have a say so in how everything is operated, that's only fair. That being said, I think the State Election Commission should strive to keep this office and all the other ones within the limits of thier budget from year to year and make people answer for and be held accountable when there are unapproved deviations regardless if the decision to make these deviations are by the AOE or the local election commission. This is a huge problem that exists in all levels of government from the top down to your local county and city governments; people in certain positions feel they can do pretty much whatever they wanna do, they don't have to answer to anyone and everyone that doesn't agree is supposed to sit down, shut up, accept it and go along with it much like some of the legislation that's been passed in our country the last 3-3 and 1/2 years. I know if you work in the private sector and your boss tells you:

"okay here you go, this is your budget for the year, every line item is broken down for you, keep up with your receipts and be very detailed how everything is spent, don't go over and there won't be any problems"

even if you may disagree with some of the amounts for certain items, chances are if you bust your budget or manipulate your budget you're not gonna be working there very long. Government should be no different.

February 17, 2012 at 3:55pm
In fairness to County Executive, Mike Gannon, who was the Cannon County Commission Chairman at the time I wrote the above letter dated August 29, 2011, he did provide the following response to my inquiry. In this response he also acknowledged two options in dealing with the Election Commission budget. His response follows:

From: County Executive Mike Gannon
Subject: Re: Election Commission Budget
Sent: Sep 1, 2011 8:14 AM

> Matt,
I did not tell Stan Dobson "you'll have to take us to court." I told him
I would have to do what the budget committee voted on and that if he
wasn't satisfied with that, that would be the only remedy.
Thank you,
Mike Gannon

Mike Gannon,
> Cannon County Executive

Regarding budgets, and oversight and managing such as an administrator, there is a great difference between the business world, where you adhere to a budget, or make needed adjustments, whatever that may mean, and an Election Commission Office. The Election office must adhere to Federal and State mandates and codes to hold a fair and honest election for all citizens. If this requires extra hours to do, it simply must be done. The needed authorization will be obtained, either through the local commission or by a court mandate. It's time to make the decisions needed and take the action necessary.

Matt Studd
Election Commissioner
February 17, 2012 at 4:25pm
CYYT, as long as there is a process whereby a county office submits a proposed budget, and the budget committee and county commission makes cuts to said budget during the budgeting process, there is always going to be a degree of conflict. I have observed the budgeting process, and for the most part the people making the decisions on it have no idea what goes on within the county's offices. They simply compare what is proposed for the next fiscal year with the budget for the current one, and if a line item is increased they often just arbitrarily decide to cut it. I am as fiscally conservative as they come, want county departments to stay within their budgets, but have come to realize there are situations and circumstances which prevent that from happening throughout county government.
February 17, 2012 at 4:42pm
So what you're saying Mr. Studd, is that Election Commission Office's aren't required or shouldn't be required to adhere to a budget? You're right, there is a difference and the difference is exactly what I stated earlier that people in certain positions think that rules, morals and common sense shoudn't apply to them because of the position they hold. For clarification on what I mean by rules, morals and common sense, I mean spending more money than you are authorized to on something without permission from the appropriate person/persons. It's simply not right to do so, legally or morally and it's just not good common sense. What is the purpose in having a budget if you don't adhere to it? What is the point in government officials and members of the military being sworn in if they don't ahere to thier oath of office? Why not just give everyone a book full of blank checks and say here you go! Have fun! Budgets exist for the purpose of telling someone what they can and cannot spend and I don't think there is one tiny bit of difference whether you're a store manager for walmart or a manager at a government office, budgets exist in both for the same reasons and budgets are yearly which means every year you get the opportunity to explain what you need and why you need it for the next year to come and that's something that most any competent manager should be able to do from year to year. If 10 hours of labor/week is going to make the difference in having an honest and fair election in Cannon County, I think anyone going to court for that is gonna look pretty stupid for pursuing legal action over exploring other alternatives until the next round of budget discussions are held. There is not only a much better more diplomatic way to go about doing this than what is being done, but there's also a much better more professional attitude that could be displayed in the process and that's called "I can do it". I would be ashamed and embarrassed to display this type of attitude over 10 hours/week, when such a small number of hours could be accomplished with an extra hour or 2 here and there, 3 or 4 on a Saturday at least till I made my new budget requests? And if it doesn't get approved with the new budget, at the point start pursuing other options in planning for the next election which I think will be in 2014 and in the mean time, I don't think those extra hours will be needed again till then? I don't think now is the time to make the decisions or take the actions you speak of sir.
February 17, 2012 at 5:05pm
Kevin, that's a very fine line that commissions have to walk because that very process of making cuts is what keeps the budgeting process in check. It's a tough position to be in given that most people may have some knowledge of one or two departments but typically not all of them. I know if I was sitting on such a commission and saw a dramatic increase in one line item over the previous year, I would want a detailed explanation from the office manager about the item. It's too bad we live in a world where you can't trust some of the people in those management positions and say tell me what your bare minimums are to make your office function and get a legitimate answer. That's why we have the system we have today and when you're on said commission, you're the person that has to answer to the general public for any increases in budgeted items, the general public typically don't inquire when there's a decrease that appears as a cost savings to them, the tax payers. However, in this situation, I think a much better alternative would be to budget for a few additional hours during election years only, cause next year when there isn't any elections going on and virtually no training and very little being mailed out, what are we gonna be paying these people to do?
February 17, 2012 at 5:23pm
CYYT, we also live in a world wherein commissioners will make budget, and other, decisions based on what they feel is politically beneficial or expedient to or for them, and not what is in the the best interests of the office they are budgeting for, or the taxpayers.
February 17, 2012 at 8:52pm
I have had occassion to sit in on some of the County Commission Budget meetings where the Election Commission Budget was presented for consideration. As I understand the TCA State Codes, it states that the County Government MUST fund the operation of each County Election Office in a reasonable manner. The reason behind the State requiring this is to insure that there is NO political wrangling by county officials with the funds for the Election Office. Money to run the Election Office in a fair and bipartisian manner should not be a tug of war between the Election Commission and the County Commissioners. I believe that Mr. Dobson has been very deligent and very conservative and very reasonable in all budget requests that he has presented to the County Commissioners. I know that he had to get the approval of the 5 Election Commissioners before the Election Office Budget was presented to the County Budget Committee. In the 2011-2012 budget that he presented, the County delibertly cut several items from the budget including money to pay for the voter central software contract that is necessary to conduct the elections. Mr. Dobson spoke up and told the commissioners present what they were doing and they did it anyway. At a later time, they had to go back and readd this to the budget. It was just like they were going to cut something just to prove they could. The matter of the assistant's pay has been discussed at length on several occassions. Dorinda makes less per hour than many of the office personel in the county. The fact that there are many new duties, reports, etc. now being required by the State and the fact that voter records need constant updating require more work hours than has been the case in the past. Also, the situation created by the three flip-flopping Election Commissioners regarding trying to consolidate some polling places is certainly a factor in the added work load for the Election Office. The Cannon County Election Office is run in a professional, very competent manner by competent people who try to be as conservative with taxpayers money as possible. The Election Office deserves to be funded in a REASONABLE manner without a vindicitive power struggle perpetrated by some disgruntled people.
February 17, 2012 at 9:43pm
CCYT I didn't realize we didn't agree on a lot, but I am glad you were able to find at least one commonality between us.

The "hardest road" is not the wisest choice in this case. I think the track record for the county being sued speaks for itself. It never turns out good and is a waste of money.

I want to weigh in a little on business budgets vs. county budgets because I don't agree that every single budget a business makes has no flexibility.

I work at one of the largest companies in America. I along with about two other individuals where I work are directly responsible for managing four different budgets which total approximately $2,000,000 a year broken down over 12 months into four categories.

We are on the constant look out for ways to save money, substitute one budget monies to compensate for another, look at line items to ensure an area is not over budgeted or under budgeted; we have to be able to explain those budgets, etc. and it is a very time consuming and tedious process that affects me and others personally, not to mention our company as a whole. And to be honest, even though I hate math, I enjoy knowing where the money I am directly responsible for is being spent. Knowledge is power.

Even with all of that, we have things built into that system to allow us to adjust accordingly for things not thought of when the original budget is presented. I think any business with any common sense would as well. I know the Cannon County budget has those things built in as well or we couldn't pay $25,000 to settle a lawsuit.

I guess all I am trying to say is we all can beat this to death. We can analyze, debate, comment and all put our two cents worth into it but it really just boils down to one option. Pay Dorinda for the time she has worked beyond what was budgeted for and move on. In my opinion the Election Commission should be working together a lot better than it is because either the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing or it just doesn’t care because of political affiliation. Either way is ineffective.

As a side note, from my personal experience with them and from firsthand knowledge or asking direct questions to them I believe what Stanly and Dorinda have done and are doing is very good work. I think anyone who simply walks in and asks them to explain why she has worked the extra overtime would walk away satisfied knowing it was justified.

I want to say that at times I am guilty of speaking before I know all of the facts and I will admit it, but I think a lot of other people who comment on various issues we read about here are as well.

I say that to say this: I love the discussions we have on this site and I like learning what others have to say and think and even though I am opinionated at times and even sarcastic at times my mind and heart lies with wanting what is best for the entire county and the people who live here.

It seems to me we have too much discussion on this site without having discussions in person, with the people who are in power, to the people who can answer the questions and make the changes and that is the fault of everyone who doesn't take the time to simply ask or get involved. As I have said before we fight the wrong battles at times I think.

I will 100% agree with Kevin on his last statement that a lot of the problems we face are because people in power make decisions that are based on what they feel is politically beneficial or expedient to or for them.

When the people who run the Election Commission, The County Commission or any other commission or office in Cannon County stop trying to be "political" and start trying to govern for the entire community then and only then will we see a change.

That is something I hope we can all agree upon.
February 19, 2012 at 1:10pm
I have checked with the County Executive's office and Mankin has been paid for the hours she worked. She is entitled to pay for the hours she works. The problem is these funds were not budgeted and Dodson did not seek election commission authority before addressing the county commission and the budget committee. Sue Patrick
February 19, 2012 at 11:58pm
The BIGGER problem is that Election Commissioner Sue Patrick knows full well that AOE Stan Dobson was in fact given authority, and Chairman Dennis was to have personally addressed the Full County Commission to follow through with the Election Commission budget amendment request. In fact at our November meeting, Commissioner Patrick's discussion, after it was stated that Chairman Dennis didn't make it to the meeting with the Commission, that she thought he had done as the Election Commission instructed regarding Dorinda's pay. I would strongly suggest that Commissioner Sue Patrick review her own notes and recording of this Nov. meeting.....before she introduces any further confusion or false pretence.

Matt Studd
February 20, 2012 at 5:38am
false pretense
February 20, 2012 at 8:38am
A motion was NOT made and seconded for Dobson to approach the commission for Mankin to work 40 hour and an increase of $5607. If anyone is making FALSE PRETENSES it is you and Dobson. Check your minutes. If Mankin began working in January 40 hr, the amount would NOT be $5607. I suggest you check your math and your approved minutes. Also did you report that you also record the minutes? The change in the November meeting discussed was to change Mankin to 34 hr from 30 Hr and the amount was $2600 not $5600. Please call me and we will discuss this and not in the website. I will review the minutes and I suggest you do the same. The approvedminutes are available to the public if anyone has questions. Sue Patrick
February 20, 2012 at 10:39am
When the people who run the Election Commission, The County Commission or any other commission or office in Cannon County stop trying to be "political" and start trying to govern for the entire community then and only then will we see a change.

Kind of proves my point doesn't it?
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