The decision over the future of how a Department of Public Works Commissioner is decided in Willsboro will have to wait.
Willsboro Supervisor Edward “Ed” Hatch said that the town board had withdrawn the request for a proposition to be placed on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot which would determine whether the position of DPW Commissioner would be picked by election or through appointment.
“The Town Board has withdrawn its Sept. 12, ‘Resolution on the Referendum of Town Highway y position to be appointed or elected,’” Hatch said in an e-mail. “Because of time limit and possible unnecessary litigation cost to the taxpayers, it was decided by the board that the referendum did not have to be on this years ballot and to withdraw the referendum and readdress the proposed referendum in 2012.”
Hatch said that there had been a questioning the procedure for the referendum by Win Belanger, as well as the fact that if the resolution were to change the current system of electing a DPW chief to a town board appointment, it would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014.
Current DPW Commissioner Peter Jacques is running for re-election on the 2011 ballot, unopposed. Jacques, who will have spent 30 years in public service at the end of his term, said that nothing is official, but he was leaning toward retiring.
The Willsboro town council voted 4-0 at its Sept. 12 meeting to place a proposition on the Nov. 8 ballot to let the voters decide whether the position should be an elected or appointed one starting in 2014.
The board then held a special meeting on Sept. 30 to discuss the matter further before deciding to ask the Essex County Board of Elections to not add the proposition to the Nov. 8 ballot.
At the time, Hatch said that the town was looking for the best way to make sure that, if there was a need for a new person to lead the DPW in 2014, the town had a qualified individual.
“The next DPW commissioner will be required to be licensed for water, sewer and be able to operate the highway department equipment,” Hatch said. “They need to have experience in all departments, and the question that needs to be answered is if we can accomplish that better by election of appointment.”
Hatch also said that a move from elected to appointed would give the town board more of a say in the department’s workings.
“Under the present situation, the town board controls the budget and the commissioner controls the operations,” Hatch said. “Under an appointment, the town board would have control of the operations.”