Ann Arbor Poll Workers Pay Bump Delayed

At its Dec. 19, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council postponed an increase in the pay for election inspectors – those who work at the polls on election day to verify registration of voters and to handle all the other duties associated with ensuring compliance with election laws at each precinct.

The proposed increases are as follows: election inspector from $8 to $9/hour; floater from $8.50 to $9.50/hour; chairperson from $11.25 to $12/hour; and absent voter count board supervisor from $14 to $14.50/hour. According to a staff memo accompanying the resolution, prepared by the city clerk’s office, the increase in pay is expected to cost $2,000 in a local election and $8,000 in a presidential election. For the upcoming 2012 presidential election, the increase would total $5,000 – a cost that will be reimbursed by the state.

The justification for the increase in pay for Ann Arbor’s election inspectors was based on comparative pay with other nearby jurisdictions. For example, the raise for election inspectors from $8 to $9 now matches what the city of Ypsilanti pays.

After the raise, however, the proposed compensation for election inspectors would still fall short of the amount set forth in Ann Arbor’s living wage policy, which the city itself is not obliged to follow. By ordinance, the wages paid by city contractors to their workers must meet minimum thresholds that are adjusted each year, based on federal poverty guidelines. In May of 2011, the new living wage minimums were set at $11.83/hour for those employers paying health insurance, and $13.19/hour for those employers not paying health insurance.

The living wage factored into the council decision to postpone the election inspectors’ pay raise. Sabra Briere (Ward 1) questioned why the raise did not match the city’s living wage and that prompted the postponement until the first meeting in January 2012. Briere requested information on the budget impact of the additional raise before the council votes.

One highlight from the staff memo accompanying the resolution, which indicates increasing use of digital technology at the polls: ”Ann Arbor is expected to receive electronic pollbooks from the State of Michigan in the next year.”

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]