LTE: Elected positions and Plymouth

To the Editor,

Having worked in town government for more than 24 years and being knowledgeable in many of the detailed jobs that municipal staff are responsible for, it is my opinion that, as with any job, it is prudent NOT to assume what that job entails, because true knowledge of a job can only come from performing that job.

That being said, as times and ways of doing things change and change comes through experience, I feel that it is a wise move for the Plymouth Selectboard to put before the voters the question of whether to appoint or elect certain positions in the town government.

I feel that some potential candidates might be concerned with the elected aspects due to the face that they have to get re-elected in certain increments of time. That in itself can be daunting.

Also, look at the scenario of a person who is elected but cannot or does not do the job to its requirements. Do we have to wait another year or two to vote them out of the position, or if no one runs against them and they are re-elected to the position, do we have them on the payroll doing substandard work for another period of years? If a position is an appointed position and the work is not up to standard, they don’t have to waste the town’s money for an extended period of time.

I feel one of the reasons a person is reluctant to enter into an elected position is, they risk losing their job and their benefits, if they are not re-elected at the town meeting. The training for that elected position would have to start over again with a new person, whereas, with an appointed position, the employee would feel secure in their job and if they are doing a good job, the training doesn’t have to start again. Thus, saving the town money.

The state statutes are the rules which MUST be followed in the daily workings of all town governments. Towns are NOT run on the whims of anyone. These rules are mandatory and there are many departments within the state government that are available to help any town staff if they seek clarification about a process.

Mail-in Ballots are one aspect of town government that strictly follows state guidelines. These guidelines require that mail-in ballots have the voters name on the envelope, otherwise the ballot cannot be counted. As we all know, when we come to vote in person, each name is checked off on a checklist so the names of who voted can be sent back to the state. If the name wasn’t on the absentee ballots, no name could be sent to the state, therefore the vote is not counted. The state is very strict about this and all of the rules that towns are required to follow.

I feel anyone can have an opinion about anything, however, it is helpful if that person is knowledgeable about the topic before sharing comments that might not be true.

Yours truly,

Margot Martell

Ludlow, VT

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