West Tisbury may appoint town clerk
At their annual town meeting on April 14, West Tisbury voters will be asked to allow selectmen to appoint the town clerk, beginning in 2010. It is now an elected position.
At their regular weekly meeting February 11, selectmen agreed to present the question as a warrant article.
Town treasurer Kathy Logue recommended that the three elected offices of town clerk, town treasurer and tax collector become appointed positions. Ms. Logue said that the increased complexity of the jobs has made all three "professional level jobs requiring significantly greater skills" and that the town would benefit from a larger pool of candidates than from West Tisbury only.
Town accountant Bruce Stone told the selectmen that a 2003 Department of Revenue study recommended appointees in key posts, a change, he said, that is increasingly taking place elsewhere in the state. He also recommended the town update the job descriptions to reflect their complexities.
Selectmen, however, wanted to proceed slowly and limited the article to the town clerk. "Let's see how that goes," chairman Jeffrey S. (Skipper) Manter said. He noted the proposed change does not reflect on the qualifications of incumbents or potential candidates.
Selectman Richard Knabel embraced the plan. "I think it's a great idea, and it gives notice to town clerk candidates that the position would be for one year, if [the planned article] passes."
Mr. Manter grudgingly agreed. "Running for elective offices is part of the heritage in small towns, but I agree the jobs are more complex," he said.
"These three are," selectman Dianne Powers, said.
Town clerk Prudy Whiting has said she will not seek a fifth three-year term. "It's nice for people to have a choice in the matter, but the town has grown huge, and state and federal government demands more and more, particularly during presidential elections," Ms. Whiting said this week.
Tara Whiting and Jemima James have filed nomination papers for the post
If voters agree to the change, the successful candidate would serve one year as elected town clerk, after which selectmen would appoint the town clerk.
In other news, The Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) has received approval from the selectmen for the route number three bus (West Tisbury/Vineyard Haven via State and Old County roads) to stop on Music Street between the old library and State Road, beginning May 3. Two other proposed route changes were taken under advisement.