A vote that was to determine how the Department of Public Works superintendent is to be hired in Willsboro will be delayed past November.
Supervisor Ed Hatch said that the request to bring the matter to a vote in the Nov. 6 General Election was turned down on a technicality.
“They are refusing to approve it because the language did not state that it is a local law,” Hatch said.
In responding to the matter, the Board of Elections in a letter to the town said that the ballot question could not be on the election ballot because “the paperwork was not submitted in its proper form.
“The County Attorney has further advised us of that fact and, with Certification required by law on Oct. 2, there was no further time in which to correct the deficiencies.”
The question, titled “Change the Highway Superintendent to Appointed Office,” was worded as follows:
“Shall there be approved in the Town Of Willsboro the change in the office of Town Highway Superintendent's from Elective Office to Appointed Office. The Town Board would appoint the Highway Superintendent effective Jan. 1, 2014, In accordance to New York State Public Official Law, Town Law and Highway Law.”
Hatch said that he is seeking a legal opinion for the town on the matter.
“I am questioning the decision and asking for legal opinion,” Hatch said. “The resolution did not state that it was a local law but it did comply with all of the rules, stated that is was mandatory vote by the voters and would comply with all the laws of the state.”
Hatch said that if the matter was not going to be allowed to be on the ballot next month, he did not know when or if there would be a special election in the future.
The town had planned to poll residents at the election, asking them if they would like to keep the DPW superintendent as an elected post or one that is appointed by the town board.
The Department of Public Works was officially formed in 1993 to put the duties of managing the highway department, water and sewer systems under one umbrella with Jacques as the superintendent.
Hatch also said that with an appointed position, the town would be able to hire a superintendent based on qualifications.
“If they are elected, they can come in with no qualifications to run the systems,” Hatch said. “With an appointed superintendent, the board can look at the qualifications and then make a determination. The board also has more control and input on operational matters, where with an elected position, the only control it really has is over the money at budget time.”