Did Ohio SoS Create and Save 5,000 Jobs?

9 May 2010, 23:19 CDT

Last week, I was a “runner” for my home county’s board of elections for the day.  Basically my job was to make the rounds between about a half-dozen different voting locations and make sure there were no major SNAFUs with the voting machines, change out the paper tape if it was running low, etc.  Really pretty simple stuff.

I’ve done this job before, and we’re paid a flat amount for the day which covers the use of our own vehicle (+fuel) and cell phone.  We’ve always been essentially 1099 workers – that is, we’re contractors for the day.  A couple of weeks after the election, the county just cuts us a check.  We’re responsible for reporting the income to the IRS, subtracting taxes, etc.

This time was different, however.  This time, we were hired as full-on W2 employees for the day.  We had to fill out and sign paperwork covering the ethics policy of the BoE and the county.  We had to submit a W4, federal tax withholding as well as the state of Ohio equivalent.  We also had to fill out the forms to be enrolled in public employees retirement (OPERS).  All 100 of us were full-fledged employees of the county for the day.  1 day.  14 hours.

This is pure speculation on my part, but I think with good reason: tell me that the state of Ohio isn’t somewhere going to report my employment on Tuesday as a “job created”.  There are 88 counties in Ohio, and this rule applied to every one of them.  I’m told this “employee for a day” was a directive from the Secretary of State’s office, or someone at that level.  Being that Franklin is one of the more populated counties and would require more runners like myself than most, figure between all 88 counties there were probably 5,000 or more of us hired – for one day.  Will you look at that: 5,000 jobs created.  1099 or contractors don’t count as employee hires.

Why would we all have to enroll in the public employees’ retirement system for one day of work?  It certainly created a lot of extra work for someone, somewhere.  Boom, jobs “saved’.

Again, just speculation on my part — but something doesn’t smell right.

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