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Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Elections staff faces scrutiny

By William Kincaid
The accountability of Mercer County Board of Elections Director Lynn Wylds and Deputy Director Denise Fullenkamp was questioned Monday afternoon.
Board of elections member Toni Slusser requested the payroll cards and a year's worth of absence of leave forms for Wylds and Fullenkamp prior to the board going into an executive session at the end of the regular meeting.
Slusser said there should not have been any compensation hours filed by Wylds or Fullenkamp as they are both salaried employees.
Board members also questioned the absence of leave policy in the office. Apparently Wylds and Fullenkamp had been responsible for approving leave times for office employees, including themselves.
When asked about the exact nature of the executive session, Slusser cited all of the possibilities under personnel - the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, compensation of a public employee or official or the investigation of charges or complaints against a public employee.
No action was taken after the hour and a half executive session, but board members will reconvene at 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to Slusser. Most of that meeting also will be held in executive session, she said.
Slusser, who just last month was appointed to the board of elections, formerly was director and deputy director of the Mercer elections office (1997-2004) and after that worked for the Secretary of State's office for three years.
Late in July after holding two special meetings that included six hours of executive sessions, board members decided to add a time clock for the elections office staff and to pay the entire staff on an hourly basis. Both Wylds and Fullenkamp were salaried employees prior to getting the time clock.
"These were just routine matters," temporary board Chairman Owen Hall had said after the July meeting. "No, there are no problems - just routine. Other offices in the courthouse have time clocks and we thought it would be a good thing to have."
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