TAMPA — For years, the Hillsborough Clerk of the Circuit Court has handled payroll services, including checks paid to poll workers for Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson.
In 2009, according to an agreement signed last week, Johnson will take over the payroll service and all other financial functions from Clerk Pat Frank. But Johnson said through General Counsel Kathy Harris on Friday that he will establish a new accounting system right away to ensure poll workers get immediate payment after this year's elections.
The need to get quick payment to poll workers is the chief reason Johnson advanced for taking over financial tasks from Frank's office.
"The thousands of moderately paid volunteers who provide much of the heart of our elections operations deserve to be paid as soon as possible," Johnson said in an e-mail Friday.
The new system to pay poll workers is not spelled out in the May 22 agreement and was not mentioned to clerk's officials in recent negotiations to transfer financial tasks, according to Dan Klein, Deputy Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners.
"It never came up," Klein said.
Harris said she talked twice last year with officials of the clerk's office about better ways to pay poll workers.
According to Johnson, some 3,000 poll workers who are paid $140 to $220 at election time have had to wait three weeks or longer to receive their checks. He said the new system will allow poll workers to be paid immediately after election day beginning this August.