Commissioners OK lease agreement, pay increase for election workers

By PATTI SELLS | News-Telegram Feature Writer

July 23, 2007 - Hopkins County commissioners today approved a lease agreement allowing  the Texas Department of Transportation the use of the West Exhibit Hall of the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center free of charge for the purpose of a public meeting to discuss improvements to Highway 11 west.

Deemed for the good of the public, the motion passed. However, discussions followed calling for guidelines and standards as to what "free events" could, in the future, be held at the Civic Center.

In other business, Hopkins County Clerk Debbie Shirley thanked the commissioners on behalf of election workers for a $3 pay increase from $7 an hour to $10.

"They work very hard," Shirley said. "For a lot of them this is a civic duty, but a lot of them do like the pay that they get for that day.

"And it is a long day," she added.

According to Shirley, even with electronic voting, election employees still have a lot of responsibilities, including training on their own and reports to fill out.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Don Patterson added that the pay increase would be an incentive to get more help during election time and made a motion to approve the pay raise. The motion to approve the pay raise was seconded by Precinct 4 Commissioner Danny Evans, and passed unanimously.

A request was also made by the Hopkins County clerk to change the polling locations from Precinct 3A, Miracle Revival Church, to Grace Family Church, and Precinct 4, First Christian Church, to Central Baptist Church.

According to Shirley, due to the fact that Miracle Revival has been put up for sale, and First Christian Church has added a day care program, the two facilities will not be available for November's election.

The motion passed unanimously, and it was suggested that a card or letter of thanks be sent to each church for their service to the community.

The meeting recessed at 10:50 a.m. and was to reconvene later in the day.

An executive session followed with discussions on land acquisition and the budget for the State Highway 11 extension.

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