Resident says town employee could assist town board
Dayton has had many dedicated hardworking elected town servants – and servants they are. But I have seen in our current board one outstanding difference from previous boards: That is their transparency.
This group has been open, communicative about meetings, agendas, processes, what they are doing and why, has sought input from the electorate, and has used that input in making decisions for the best interest of the town and its people. I really commend them for that.
A motion was introduced at our recent annual meeting to replace the two elected positions of town clerk and treasurer with one hired clerk-treasurer. The motion was made, seconded and discussed with reasons in favor and against. It was voted on, with 71 percent of those present voting in favor.
Usually the last person to hear a rumor, I have just learned that some people are saying the vote was engineered by our current Town Board.
I know, respect and am a good friend of one of the board. I also know, respect and consider myself a friend of the town resident who made the motion. But I hadn’t a clue that this matter would come up, and neither did any of my other friends and neighbors who were there. So much for secretive engineering.
So why were so many people at the meeting, and why did so many people vote in favor? I can only speak for myself.
I was there for two reasons. I find it exhilarating that so many Dayton residents are now taking an active interest in their town. There were multiple candidates for each office at the last election, and there are volunteers taking part in committees. With the transparency of the new board, citizens can question expenditures, decisions, offer suggestions, and they are listened to. The annual meeting is where much of this input takes place, and I marvel at the positive change over past years.
I also wanted to be at the board meeting that would follow.
Why did I vote for the change? The board was clearly caught off guard without a plan (which should be a big clue to the nonsense of the secret engineering rumor). They couldn’t give any definitive answers about details of the position. However several things make good sense to me.
1. A hired position, as opposed to the elected position, would have specified hours, and townspeople could have access to information on a daily basis without having to invade the home and privacy of the town clerk.
2. A hired position would have a job description, could be assigned tasks to assist committees and board members, and duties that are currently nobody’s responsibility, e.g. updating the town’s website or mailing notices to taxpayers.
3. A hired position would have benefits like Social Security, health care insurance, sick leave, paid vacation and job security with continued growth on the job.
I actually see additional potential benefits. Although this would clearly be an unwelcome change for our incumbent clerk and treasurer, it would not take effect until their elected terms are completed. I will again support the change.