Marion to move to appointed Town Clerk

May 15, 2019

MARION — After a debate on the merits of appointed and elected town clerks, Marion voters decided at the May 14 night of Town Meeting that they would prefer to have Selectmen appoint someone.

One resident asked if the Selectmen currently have a process to remove an appointed position.

The Selectmen replied that they can do it. Barbara Sanderson asked for more details on the process. 

Town Administrator Paul Dawson responded that Selectmen would need to hold a meeting in executive session, though the defendant would have right to be held in a public session. There’s a formal hearing back and forth,” Dawson said, “and Selectmen can make a case and that person would have the option to defend themself or get representation. 

Sanderson continued that a recall by vote is a much simpler process. 

Christine Winters said that while she understands “it’s sort of a knee jerk reaction” to what’s happened after the town’s current clark was indicted for larceny on March 18, “if there’s a rule to make determinations about elected position it should be across the board and in an easy to understand way,” she said. 

Alan Minard spoke in favor of the appointed position. “The benefit of appointed is that you can set forth job requirements and interview set of candidates. The alternative is we have an open seat, the person is elected, we have no idea if they have the skills other than a candidates’ night,” Minard said. He also added “we should work through the process of a recall so we can recall a bad” official. 

One Marion resident asked how many appointed versus elected officials there are across the state.

Dawson said he is a former town clerk in both elected and appointed capacity. The last time he was appointed at that time it was roughly 50/50. However he believes that many are moving in the direction of appointed position.

Joe Zora asked about the financials of an appointed clerk. 

With the “money that we took away [on May 13] how much are we going to pay the appointed person?” he asked,  “Who can live on $19,000?” he asked. 

He also called for more regular audits, but said that if the town appointed someone and had to pay them, “it would be more money than you realize,” Zora warned.