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DeKalb Elections Board talks budget, new hires for 2022

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DeKalb Elections Board talks budget, new hires for 2022

FILE PHOTO: Officer Watts was busy Nov. 3rd helping people who showed up to vote at the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Office with finding their proper polling location. File Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb County Elections Board is positioning itself to be successful not only in 2022, but in the long term, said Board Chair Dele Lowman Smith at the final meeting of the year on Dec. 6. Discussions of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget and new hires in the elections department topped the list of priorities.

Interim Elections Director Twyla Hart submitted a $7.8 million budget for FY22 to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. Postage costs jumped from $120,000 in 2020 to $400,000 because approximately 200,000 registered voters in the county must be notified of redistricting.

“We’ve been running on such a shoestring budget,” said Elections Board Vice Chair Nancy Jester.

Board members said staff has been underpaid for years, and salaries need to be right-sized to market compensation.

According to the county’s Organizational Act, the CEO’s proposed budget must be presented to the Board of Commissioners by Dec. 15 and commissioners must approve a budget by March 1, said DeKalb County communications manager Andrew Cauthen.

A national search for an elections director has been ongoing since Erica Hamilton resigned in October, and Twyla Hart was appointed interim director. The department is also seeking to hire an elections deputy director who will handle day-to-day operations. Interviews have not yet begun for either position.

The elections director salary range is $102,000 -$159,000 salary and the deputy director salary range is $71,000-$110,000. Fulton County is also hiring a deputy elections director for a $80,000-$120,000 salary range.

The board held a closed-door meeting, known as an executive session, for personnel reasons, but no votes were taken.

At the meeting, DeKalb Commissioner Ted Terry said the elections working group will resume meeting after the elections budget and strategic process is in place. The group last met in September. DeKalb County Elections Board 2022 schedule is available here.

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