Secretary of state wants oversight

Secretary of State Tom Schedler technically has about 700 employees, but he has no control over more than half of them.

Registrars of voters and their employees are paid through the Secretary of State’s Office.

And that’s concerning Schedler because he’s paying the bills but doesn’t know what’s going on in the field.

“I can’t do elections without the registrars of voters. But we have got to clear up the governance, how this is working and who is responsible,” said Schedler. “My issue is not with the performance in elections but with the everyday administration ... and my liability in the public’s eye.”

Schedler told a legislative committee that he’s been trying to get the registrars to develop such things as time and attendance policies. He said he’s been “ignored, ignored, ignored.”

Schedler said one day a problem is going to come up and he’s going to get the blame.

He said as chief elections officer people think he has “some control over” the registrars. “I have zero,” he said. “It needs to be rectified.”

Schedler said the situation is also causing problems with morale in his shop because his employees who help registrars’ employees during early voting haven’t had a pay raise in four years. Registrars’ employees get two raises a year, he said.

“It’s time not to be passive any more and bring this to a head,” Schedler said.