The city-parish’s new registrar of voters is in line for a salary increase after a busy first few months in which he declared a petition for the city of St. George invalid.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council will vote August 26 to approve a $12,795.72 salary supplement for Registrar Steve Raborn. Raborn’s currently salary is $84,945 and the extra money has already been budgeted and will not affect the current budget, according to the supplement request for the Metro Council.
Raborn, a former East Baton Rouge registrar employee and a former Texas registrar, was appointed to his position in June. He took over for longtime Registrar Elaine Lamb, who retired in May.
Raborn’s starting salary was on the low end of the earning potential for the registrar, whose salary can range between $85,000 and $117,000 a year. The salary increase, which would bring his total to around $97,740, would go into effect September 1.
In the weeks leading up to Raborn’s appointment, Councilman John Delgado speculated that his fellow council members were trying to give the position to former councilman Ulysses “Bones” Addison. Raborn narrowly garnered the Metro Council’s support for the position.
The registrar position has been described as a “lifetime appointment” because most people keep the job until they retire. The East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar’s Office has existed for 94 years, but only had five registrars.
Lamb retired as the registrar’s office was in the middle of validating a huge petition that residents signed in hopes that they would vote this fall to create the city of St. George. The St. George movement gathered steam as residents hoped for their own city on the south side of the parish with better public schools than East Baton Rouge.
Days after Raborn was appointed to the position, the registrar’s office announced that the petition to create St. George fell short by 71 names.
St. George backers needed 25 percent of registered voters in their proposed city’s boundaries to sign the petition to hold an election. After the validation process, the registrar found that St. George backers had garnered 17,788 valid names.
St. George proponents filed a lawsuit that went to court in July in which they alleged that Raborn made important mistakes when verifying the petition. State Judge Wilson Fields dismissed the lawsuit, saying no legal remedy could force the registrar to take a second look at the petition.
St. George organizers later announced that they would not appeal the ruling, leaving their movement dead. They would have to wait two years to re-start the petition process, according to state law.