Eighth District City Councilwoman Reva Trammell says she expressed concerns to Mayor Rudolph C. McCollum Jr. She indicated that City Council contests in the 5th District McCollum's and in the 8th District could be close and that they should be particularly aware of any changes in volunteer participation and how it might influence the election.
"What would happen if Sheriff Mitchell did this?" Trammell asks. "There are two sets of rules here. How can Calvin get involved in an election?"
City Registrar Kirk Showalter says she helped draft the memo with Jamison, and that it is nearly identical to the one that went out last November. "Council people may not be aware that city employees have always served as election officers," Showalter says.
The memo asks for 16 volunteers to help man the phones and answer questions from voters. City employees must put in a request for administrative leave and would be paid for the day plus whatever remuneration roughly minimum wage is offered by the city registrar's office.
Showalter explained the memo to McCollum, who went to Showalter last week with some questions about it. McCollum did not return Style's calls by press time.
"This has nothing to do with voter turnout or campaigning," says Showalter, who maintains that her office with a staff of nine needs extra help on Election Day. And she stresses that the memo was sent from the city manager's office "solely to authorize administrative leave" to city employees. Otherwise, she notes, they would have to take a vacation day.
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