LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The City Council voted unanimously today to make $1.5 million available from the city’s reserve fund to pay for a special election to replace former Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

Hahn resigned her 15th District seat in July after she was elected to
Congress.

A primary election for the district stretching from the Port of Los
Angeles in San Pedro north along the Harbor (110) freeway to Watts is scheduled
for Nov. 8. A runoff election, should it be necessary, is scheduled for Jan.
17.

The $1.5 million will pay for the City Clerk’s Office staff to work
overtime, part-time workers and for resources such as polling booths, paper,
printing and renting ballot machines from Los Angeles County.

A total of 14 candidates have filed papers with the City Ethics Division
to raise money for the campaign. The filing period with the city clerk to
officially get on the ballot begins Aug. 22.

City Clerk Executive Officer Holly Wolcott said all of the $1.5 million
will not necessarily be used.

“We have to fund for any contingency emergency. You never know what’s
going to happen,” Wolcott said. “If we have to rent a truck, we have to rent
a truck. There’s no time at the last minute to go back to City Council and ask
for more money.”

About $100,000 of the total will pay for some full-time city clerk staff
to work on days they are scheduled to take unpaid furloughs. Most of the
staff in the clerk’s elections division are members of the Engineers and
Architects Association. The union representing close to 4,500 city employees
has not agreed with the city on terms for a new contract. The council voted in
May to force workers in unions that did not agree to new contracts to take 26
unpaid days off in the fiscal year that started July 1.

Wolcott said an overtime allotment of $100,000 is necessary because
staff often have to work 10- to 12-hour days in the weeks ahead of an election.

Half of the money designated, $750,000, will go to hire temporary staff
to assist with vote-by-mail and other as-needed tasks.

Any money left over after the election will be returned to the city’s reserve fund, Wolcott said.

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