Back in February we wrote about our concern that newly elected Clerk and Recorder Sandra Merchant was hiring election denier political cronies who knew little about administering free elections. Those concerns were prompted by Merchant’s first hire, Devereaux Biddick, who apparently had little relevant experience or related education. Biddick was among the signers of a petition presenting a list of demands to the Cascade County Commissioners, which included requiring all voters in the county to “re-register,” banning all electronic voting, banning mail in ballots, and requiring all ballots be counted in one day. It was hard for us to imagine then, and now, that people who advocated these changes, most of which are either impractical or illegal, could be considered qualified to hold positions in the elections office.
We were also concerned that hiring Biddick was a precursor to more crony hiring. Since that time, two family members of Public Service Commissioner Randy Pinocci have been hired, along with others who had signed the denier petition. The below is from our article back in February.
“Is This Just the Beginning?
The fact is that recently elected County Commissioner Grulkowski and Clerk and Recorder Merchant, who have worked extensively together on their election denier mythology prior to being elected, have now offered a full-time permanent position to a friend of theirs who worked on the same effort. Biddick could be just the beginning of Sandra Merchant’s opportunities to move her cronies from the election denier crowd into government jobs at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. The election supervisor job will be open thanks to Deroche’s resignation. In addition, the office has traditionally hired additional temporary employees to help during the election cycle.”
We began this article by pointing out that this kind of cronyism is illegal. Specifically, the Governmental Code of Fair Practices prohibits discrimination in government employment based on political beliefs. If any of the unsuccessful applicants for the position decided to file a complaint under that law and won, we would all get to pay for the insider dealing of our newly elected county officials. We’ll stay tuned and keep watching.”
Now, Biddick is being hired to run the elections office on a temporary basis while the County Commission is developing a position description and opening the position. She will also receive a 15% raise. We can see the need to have someone filling the position, but we can only hope that this time around the county will have an open and transparent process for filling the new election administrator position. See our full story from last February https://wtf406.com/2023/02/clerk-and-recorder-staff-changes-is-new-hire-a-political-crony/