On Tuesday, the Commissioners decided not to add a compliance officer for oversight purposes regarding the Hays County Elections Office.
During their budget discussion, commissioners discussed the proposal to add a three-month position to oversee the election process but ultimately decided against adding the estimated $18,000 position.
Human Resources Director, Shari Miller, said she had looked at the county’s market source counties and others to see if any had a compliance officer or review position over their election administrators.
According to Mark Kennedy, Hays County Legal Counsel, the county has guidance from the Election Code on how the elections office is structured; the Texas Secretary of State is the chief election administrator and oversees all administrators at the local level.
Kennedy said if requested, the SOS will send an inspector to stand by during an election to monitor activities; he believed in the past it has sometimes but not always happened in Hays.
Commissioner Lon Shell said, “I don’t think we should be interfering in the election process as partisan officials on that ballots. In no way, shape or form do I believe a commissioners court should be hiring someone to get in the middle of an independent office and tell them what to do in the middle of an election when one or two of us are on the ballot.”
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said his goal was to provide the elections office with the support it needed during this election season.
“I want to support that department because this is going to be the toughest election period,” Becerra said. “And I would hate to have in December while we’re talking about post-election” to look back and have someone say, “I asked for this and you didn’t give it to me.”
Commissioners voted unanimously to make the Election Office’s part-time position a full-time position.