Registrar gets full-time help

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted 7-0 at its regular October meeting to change the part-time position in the voter registrar’s office to a full-time position.

The motion was made by Farmville 801 District Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones, and there were only seven voters on the motion because Lockett District Supervisor Robert M. “Bobby” Jones was not present at the meeting.

“After the board pack was completed, we had a request from the electoral board that they would like to make a part-time position in the registrar full time,” County Administrator Wade Bartlett said at the meeting. “I have not had a lot of time to review that. The registrar’s here if y’all would like to hear from her on this.”

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“We have a full-time position and a part-time position in the registrar’s office,” Bartlett said. “That’s what we have. I’d have to look at the funding. I’m not sure how much we’ve funded because at one time we had two part times.”

Farmville 701 District Supervisor and Board Chairman Jim Wilck said, “Should we table it then till the next meeting?”

“That would be my recommendation so it would allow me to look at it,” Bartlett replied. “Now, I have some information here, if you’d like it now, that the registrar and the electoral board gave …”

“Why don’t you study it so you can give us an exact number,” Wilck said. “Is that alright?”

Farmville 801 District Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones said, “I’d like to hear it now. I received an email, and I’m sure some other people probably did as well, and Ms. (Lynette) Wright is here, so I’d like to have her speak.”

Bartlett said, “The little bit of research I have been able to do is that Buckingham County has one full time, one part time; Lunenburg County has one full time, one part time; Amelia County has one full time, two part time; and Appomattox County has one full time, two part times.”

He noted that he had not heard back from Nottoway or Charlotte counties.

He was asked about how their numbers compare to Prince Edward.

“Of course, their populations are lower, somewhat,” he said. “That’s part of the studying that I’d have to do. How much, I don’t know. So everybody does it a little different. There are some counties, I’m sure, that have two full times.”

Prince Edward General Registrar Lynette Wright presented a packet to the board and advocated for changing her part-time assistant to full time.

“I also did call around to a lot of the different counties,” she said. “In the packets, I have a list of the ones who have less population than us, and they have two full times in the office, and it seems like that’s the trend that’s happening, because early voting becomes effective next year. November 2020, there will be early voting. It’s going to be the last week right now, but when the new representatives go into office in January, they are looking for them to expand it for all 45 days, so we all need extra help.”

She cited the busy electoral slate coming next year as well.

Bartlett later said, “If you really want additional hours, the greatest impact would be to have two part times, because even those part times could work almost full time during that busy part. But if you then hit with just two full time, that’s what you got, then you would have to add another part time later, because I can bet a dollar to a doughnut that they’re going to come back and ask for that. But it’s up to the board.”

Wright said working with two part times in the past was very inconsistent.

Bartlett said he thought that was more of a personnel issue than it was the number of positions. He also said the registrar will have more room after the renovations are complete.

Cooper-Jones said, “I want to consider giving her a full-time assistant. Her office works very hard. She’s been very proficient, and she has some personal health issues which require her to be out of that office, and we need somebody who can pick up and carry on when she’s not there. And this young lady has been faithful in coming to work, and she’s learned quite a bit, and if you’ll look in your packets that she gave you, look at the other county’s with much less population than we have, and they’ve got a full-time person there.”

“I make a motion that the board of supervisors will grant the registrar’s office a full-time person,” she said.

There was some discussion about how the population of the colleges skews Prince Edward’s population numbers, but Wright indicated that a substantial number of Longwood students have registered to vote in the past.

More discussion ensued with regard to how much money would be required to fund the additional full-time position in the registrar’s office, and an estimate of $47,000-$52,000 was mentioned.

Wilck later asked Cooper-Jones to restate her motion.

“I’d like to make a motion that Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors grant to the registrar’s office (a) move from a part-time position to a full-time position and recommend the lady who she already has in the office,” she said.

After Hampden District Supervisor Dr. Odessa Pride asked about the timetable, and Wright indicated immediately would be ideal, Cooper-Jones added effective immediately to her motion.