Article a bit misleading

To the editor: The November 10, 2007 News Enterprise article regarding the recent election results, when discussing the need to fill the town board vacancy created by Sterling Goodspeed becoming supervisor, stated that the town board must appoint a successor to the town board. This is not the only choice. NYS Town Law S 64(5) which gives the Town Board the power to appoint a qualified person to fill a vacancy may be amended or superseded by Municipal Home Rule law. This latter law indicates that the town board is authorized to adopt local laws relating to the mode of selection of its officers that are not inconsistent with the provision of the Constitution or with any general law. (Mun. Home Rule law S10 (1) (ii) (a) (1) ) This means that, given the political will, the Town Board could decide to pass a local law that would allow them to hold a special election in order to fill the vacancy. There are three drawbacks to having a special election: 1) it might take about four months, thereby leaving the Town Board without a full complement of officials for eight meetings 2) a special election must be conducted in the same manner as a regular election, thereby incurring the same costs as a regular election 3) in order to pass the proposed local law curtailing the power of the town board to appoint someone, a mandatory referendum first must be held. This involves a vote by the public to essentially agree to hold a special electionin other words, an election of an election. Obviously, the easiest and least expensive way to handle a vacancy is to appoint someone. However, appointment by the town board is also the least democratic as it deprives the people of the community a voice in who should be one of its officials for the duration of the two-year term and it allows three people to choose a like-minded individual to fill the vacancy. Therein lies the rub. Based on the criteria of someone they know, someone who has been around the community a long time, someone who belongs to the local Republican Party, the three decision makers automatically limit the creativity and productivity potential of the town board. Diverse representation on the boardpeople with different ideas, different past experiences, different solutionsallows for discussion and consideration of creative solutions and opportunities. We had three people who expressed an interest in serving the community by running for election in November. I think it is fair to say the election was not a run away for any of the victors, which tells me that there are a number of people (almost 35%-40%) within the town who supported these candidates ideas and voted for change. It would seem to me that the town board has three choices: 1) Appoint someone who is a good Republican that they all agree with and ensure little change 2) Appoint one of the candidates who showed a vital interest in taking part in the local government and offered some very interesting ideas and solutions to issues facing the towneschewing party politics which serve to perpetuate the party, not the community good 3) Hold a special election which, although a cumbersome process, would ensure that the community is democratically represented. Kelly Nessle
Greater Johnsburg

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