Opinion Columns & Blogs

County budget shortchanges elections staff

Sedgwick County’s 2016 budget proposal touts the addition of two election workers as serving the County Commission’s goals for improving core county services. But County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman requested four new staff positions, and told The Eagle editorial board she “did not give consent to the removal of the two positions.” She also said via e-mail: “While the addition of two staff members will be very helpful and is definitely appreciated, our office is in need of four. I look forward to working with the commissioners towards a resolution.” Comparisons with other counties’ staffing should help make Lehman’s case: The election offices in Sedgwick and Wyandotte counties each have six full-time staffers, though Sedgwick County has nearly 200,000 more registered voters (270,828). Shawnee County has nine full-time election workers and 165,000 fewer registered voters; Johnson County has 100,000 more registered voters than Sedgwick County but a whopping 17 full-time election staffers. – Rhonda Holman