Westmoreland County has a new watchdog.

The actual position is known as the Quality Assurance Manager, but the general description of this type of job is usually to watch what happens and make sure it goes according to plan. In a factory, quality assurance ensures that the computer, camera, or candy bar all meet their specifications. In a call center, quality assurance means that customers receive the information they need quickly and completely.

Herminie’s Greg Kline is hired to do this job for the polling station.

With the general election in 10 days, it is good to know that someone is monitoring what is happening – especially since there is still no director of the election office.

District officials say filling this position – which has been vacant since JoAnn Sebastiani was fired in June and has a revolving door to the electoral office for a year – will be a new focus after the November 2nd elections, and did.

That’s good to know.

It is strange, however, that the focus was no more on the directing position than on quality assurance. It’s like you have a hostess who places people in a restaurant but overlooks a chef who is preparing the food.

The commissioners also set the salary for Kline’s position at $ 80,000. That’s $ 20,000 more than originally planned.

Even at $ 60,000, the position was more than the $ 53,000 paid by Sebastiani, who had been a longtime county clerk. Beth Lechman, who stepped down prior to the 2020 election, earned $ 69,000 and is now raising $ 85,000 in the same role for Center County.

This leaves one wondering what the final price will be for running elections safely and competently in Westmoreland County. With $ 80,000 already spent on quality assurance and even more pending for the director, it seems impossible that it would cost less than $ 133,000 for the two positions and likely exceed $ 160,000.

There is nothing wrong with filling a position in quality assurance – especially when, as the Commissioners suggest, the job involves more than just election supervision. There is undoubtedly a lot of quality that the county’s various services could ensure for residents.

Quality assurance also includes having a good plan as a benchmark right from the start. When it comes to the electoral office and recruitment, the plan seems to use a little more structure.