Voters Could Split Town Clerk/Tax Collector Job

Town manager Kevin Smith presented the Town Council with an update on splitting the currently combined Town Clerk/Tax Collector position.
Following up on discussions at the previous meeting, Smith told the Council on Monday night that he researched the matter and consulted with the town attorney. “He said that if the council would like to go in that direction of separating out the two positions to have two separate positions, what it would take is essentially two questions on the ballot in 2014,” Smith said.

One question would ask if voters wanted to discontinue the combined position. The second question would ask voters whether they wanted to allow the council to appoint the tax collector.
“If they approve both, you would still have a combined position for one year after that March ballot, and in the subsequent election in 2015, you would just have an election for a town clerk and appoint the tax collector,” Smith said.
Smith said there would not be two positions created – the Town Clerk position would remain an elected position and would be limited in nature, while the Tax Collector position and duties would be spread out among existing staff in the Town Clerk’s office, creating a savings if that were the direction the voters wished to pursue.
Smith said the town attorney is continuing to review how such a division would occur.
Council Chairman John Farrell reiterated that at the 2014 election, the Town Clerk/Tax Collector position would be on the ballot for a one-year term. In the following election, if the voters approved the split, the Town Clerk by itself would be on the ballot, while the Tax Collector duties would be undertaken by current staff.
Smith said he researched other towns with an elected Town Clerk and a separate appointed tax collector, a list that is “dozens of towns long.”
He noted that until 1994, the positions were separate, but the voters approved combining them.
On June 17, Marguerite “Meg” Seymour resigned the position of Town Clerk/Tax Collector, citing personal reasons. Since that time, Finance Director Susan Hickey has been filling the Town Clerk/Tax Collector position at no additional pay.
According to statute, when an opening such as this occurs, the Deputy Town Clerk/Tax Collector fills the role for 30 days until an interim Town Clerk/Tax Collector can be named.
Chapter 1 Article 8, Section 9.3 of the Londonderry town charter provides that in the event of a vacancy in an elected position, the Town Council will fill that position by appointment until the next election.
Smith also told the council he had been asked to look into allegations made by Gerard Adams regarding Murray’s Auto Recycling.
“On the issue of the siding to be applied to the trailer, the owner, Mr. Dudek, said that probably within the next month that siding would be finished,” Smith said. “The second issue was whether other businesses were operating out of the property, and Mr. Dudek said he does have entities registered there but that absolutely nothing is operating from the location. He is receiving mail from those entities but that is the extent of anything going on there.”
Smith said in reference to trucks going into the business after hours, he had changed his route going home for the past two weeks so that he would drive on Hall Road, and has not seen any business activity going on at the location after 5 p.m.

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