Commissioners make policy change to allow county employees to work polls
Also move forward with downtown holiday lighting project, hear from museum director
[Tiffin, OH Oct. 17, 2019] – The Seneca County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Thursday morning that makes it possible for county employees to work as poll workers during elections without using personal or vacation leave.
The resolution, which tweaks the county’s policy on the matter, was introduced by Commissioner Tony Paradiso. The resolution was brought forward on the heels of a legal opinion from Prosecutor Derek DeVine that states the county was able to change its policy per Ohio Revised Code 3501.28 (F)(1)(a).
Several other counties in Ohio, including Delaware and Montgomery counties, have adopted similar policies.
Before the resolution, Seneca County workers could work the polls, but not without using leave time. With Thursday’s decision, county employees are now eligible to work the polls without using leave time, and they also can earn their normal county pay in addition to the stipend offered for being a poll worker.
The resolution clarifies that this is not a mandated policy for all county employees, as supervisors and elected officials will make the ultimate decision on if the opportunity is offered. Without the resolution, this arrangement would not be possible.
The commissioners acknowledged the importance of poll workers performing their civic duty and encouraged county departments to offer the opportunity to employees when possible.
Those who do take the opportunity will be required to attend three hours of training and will work a 12-hour shift on Election Day.
In other business, the commissioners agreed to advance funds for an approximately $20,000-holiday lighting display at the Seneca County Justice Center. Financial commitments from private businesses and individuals have been obtained to repay the county. The commissioners are expected to contribute about $500 to the display, which will be owned and maintained by the county. The display includes lighting, garland, a large Christmas tree that will be lit and a decorative walkway as an entrance.
Also during the meeting, Seneca County Museum Director Tonia Hoffert gave a quarterly report.
Hoffert said in 2019, about 1,340 people have visited the museum. She said she has received volunteer help from two Heidelberg University students, Alisha Yoder and Allison Blythe.
Hoffert thanked the students and all the other museum volunteers who have committed about 1,870 hours this year to helping the museum run smoothly.
Hoffert also informed the board that St. Joseph Church in Tiffin is to receive a historical marker, as it approaches its 175th anniversary. The church was one of 27 applications to be approved out of a pool of 70.
Hoffert also invited the public to an event at the museum on Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. for the announcement of the winner of a mascot-naming competition. The museum’s mascot is a four-legged duck and area students were able to submit potential names.
In other action, the commissioners announced a board meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Chisholm Auditorium, in Franks Hall at Tiffin University.
In other business, the board approved all resolutions from yesterday’s meeting, in addition to:
* A $144.84 supplemental appropriation to the Impaired Driving Enforcement Program Fund for salaries.