Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Election Day Off Could Cost MWRD $600K



    FILE - This Jan. 31, 2012 file photo shows a woman voting at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland as early voting began in Ohio's March 6 presidential primary. A dispute over early voting rules in swing state Ohio is playing out in a political spat between the two presidential campaigns and in a federal court battle. At issue is the legality of an Ohio law cutting three days out of the early-voting period for everyone except members of the armed forces and Ohio citizens living overseas. The dispute reaches court Wednesday, thanks to what the Obama campaign describes as its first lawsuit anywhere in the nation for the 2012 election. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

    The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) has decided to declare Election Day November 6th a paid holiday so that their 2,000 employees will have an opportunity to vote.   

    The single furloughed day could cost them $650,000, according to estimates.   

    The commissioners approved that motion by a 6 to 3 vote on October 4. 

    "During its October 4 Board meeting, the MWRD Board of Commissioners approved a paid day off for all employees for Election Day. The District has traditionally given employees the day off for the presidential national election. This encourages employees to serve as volunteers and to be involved in our national election process," said Allison Fore from MWRD. 

    Yes votes included Michael Alvarez, Patricia Horton, Barbara McGowan, Kathleen Therese Meany, Terry O’Brien and Cynthia Santos. Those who voted NO are: Frank Avila, Debra Shore and Mariyana Spyropoulos.

    Shore said there's no need to take the entire day. 

    "While I encourage everyone to vote, MWRD employees have two hours off without penalty on election day, in addition to early voting and no penalty absentee voting," said Debra Shore in an email to Ward Room. "Those who want to take a full day to work for a particular issue or candidate can take personal time off on Election Day, rather than the District awarding employees a paid day off. I'd much rather devote the $600,000 it will cost to increasing staff salaries in next year's budget."

    Polling places are open from 6am to 7pm – not to mention that Early Voting starts today and is available on Saturdays as well.