BY DAMIEN STROWBRIDGE
The Supervisor of Elections is charged with the responsibility of administering and regulating the election laws of the county. Gertrude Walker is re-running against Stephanie Morgan for Supervisor of Elections. I got a chance to ask Mrs. Walker some questions regarding her current position.
Q: Do you believe that all employees should be given raises based on job performance, or do you think that salary/wage increases should be given just because an employee has been on the job for another year?
A: I believe that an employee that does not exceed my expectations consistently will not be around long enough for an across the board raise. All raises should be performance based. The tax payers deserve a dollar value for every dollar spent.
Q: Why are you re- running for office?
A: I believe the right to vote is one of our most precious rights. My ultimate goal is to continue my record of conducting impartial trouble-free and secure elections with timely and accurate results. The voters of St. Lucie County have come to expect excellence and I am proud of the exceptional work I’ve done as an Election Administrator. My staff and I take tremendous pride in our efforts to ensure that all eligible voters have a chance to exercise their right to vote and that every voter leaves the precinct knowing that their vote has been counted or that their absentee ballot is secure and will be accurately counted by the canvassing board.
Q: Please assess the performance of your government’s chief executive.
A: In these economic times every Chief Executive Officer is forced to make tough decisions that will affect others.
Q: What do you think is/will be the most important mission in the elected position you are seeking?
A: 1. The biggest challenge is securing a new office that will facilitate all specific functions the Supervisor of Elections office operations and the needs of all the citizens of St. Lucie County.
2. Do more with less in a shrinking budget. In the current economic climate where everything is budget-driven, doing the business of the tax payers has become a challenge my staff and I have embraced with the ultimate goal of reducing expenditures. Since the 2006-2007 fiscal years I have reduced our budget by nearly 27%. This takes experience, knowledge and expertise to succeed. Despite these obstacles and challenges, I am proud to relay that we are persevering and still providing excellent service with integrity, fairness and efficiency to our constituents.
3. Upgrade Election Night Reporting Software: In past elections absentee and early voting totals were reported at the end of the night after precincts reported. In 2011 State Legislature passed a law requiring absentee and early voting results be uploaded to the State by 7:30 pm on election night, resulting in the system showing all precincts reporting which became an issue in the August 14th Primary. The solution to this problem is to upgrade the Election Results Software at a cost of approximately $30,000 with an annual licensing fee of approximately $10,000. I plan to take this issue to the Board of County Commissioners at their informal meeting October 9th.