By SHAD ALSWORTH, Town of Wellsville Supervisor
As the Supervisor for the Town of Wellsville, I sometimes find a need to share my thoughts on the direction of the Town of Wellsville Town Board for transparency and clarity to our constituency.
I offer this statement with the utmost respect to a Retired Air Force reservist and President of the Wellsville Republican Committee, Mr. Robert Christman, in response to a recent opinion article in the Wellsville Sun.
I thank Mr. Robert Christman for his decades of service to our country and to our community. As my family prepares for a trip to Fort Benning to witness the graduation of our son, 2nd Lieutenant Treyton Alsworth, from Officer training, rest assured we understand the importance of service and the price that sacrifice entails.
My inability to accept an opportunity at West Point Academy at the age of 18 because of medical issues (I had a tumor removed from my spinal column by the age of 21), drove me to participate in local government as an alternative form of service. I believe that everyone that enjoys the freedoms we enjoy in these United States should offer a form of service to pay our debt to those that have ensured those freedoms.
The Town of Wellsville Town Board has received several such “calls to service” from individuals in our community with a desire to “fill a vacancy” on our Town Board. For these offers to serve, I am proud and grateful to be leading and serving such a dedicated constituency willing to “pay their debt.”
Filling such a vacancy is often an arduous task where town board members find themselves begging for participation and interest. The experience the town board has had the pleasure of participating in recently is quite the opposite. My years of leadership and supervisory training have taught me to surround myself with those with strengths I do not possess and who are smarter than I. Many applicants who desire to “fill the vacancy” meet and exceed expectations on both fronts.
When filling a vacancy on a Town Board, there are considerations that are at the forefront of the Town Board’s thought process. The member who resigned from our Town Board was a member of the Republican Party. Common courtesy dictates that position be filled by another member of the Republican Party (as would be the case if the resigning member served as a Democrat, Independent, etc.).
This is a courtesy, not a requirement.
The Town Board has a responsibility to ensure that a considered appointee assists in filling the needs of the Town Board and is willing to dedicate the required time needed to actively participate in the process of governing and decision making.
Discussion among the current members of the Town Board seems to lead to a consensus in the following:
- The Town of Wellsville Town Board functions very well currently. Town Board members actively participate in all decision making and have varied backgrounds, strengths, and experiences that aid in ensuring the interests of our constituency are represented in our decisions.
- Participation in Town Government requires active participation (those interested in serving in this capacity should be attending Town Board meetings and engaging Town Board members.)
- Consideration should be given to recommendations from the Republican Committee (There have been two different votes conducted at Republican Committee Meetings since October 2021. Recommendations to fill the vacancy have not been consistent throughout the process with more than one candidate having been offered for consideration in two separate votes, one in October and one in March as is reflected in the Republican Committee Minutes.)
- There is a petition process requiring a minimum number of signatures to appear on the ballot for the Republican Primary. This process allows the public to have active participation in candidates to represent them.
- Recent precedence does not lead to blind faith following recommendations from the Republican Committee or any other entity. After completing my last term as Town Councilman, the former Town Supervisor resigned. Because of my years of experience as a Council member, the Town Board asked for my consideration and appointed me as the Town Supervisor less than two weeks after my term as a Council member had expired. Within a couple months, with my recommendation, Darwin Fanton was appointed as a Council member to fill the vacancy created by Steve Havey (Havey was elected to represent our District as a County Legislator) because of the years of experience offered by Darwin Fanton. Neither of these appointments involved active voting of the Republican Committee. The Town Board made the appointments with respectful and careful consideration and without objection from the Republican Committee. Elections the following November allowed the “voice of the people” to be heard and positions were filled using normal procedures.
- The Town of Wellsville Town Board desires active participation from any/all candidates that may be appointed to “fill the vacancy.” The Town of Wellsville Town Board looks forward to the results of the Primary Election which will allow the voting members of our community to more clearly define the “candidate of choice” to “fill the vacancy”.
- The Town of Wellsville Town Board is not required to “fill the vacancy”. The election in November will ultimately determine representation for 2023.
The Town Board looks forward to any/all active participation in local government. We strongly encourage any/all concerns to be presented during the “Community Comment” period of our Town Board meetings.
We thank all of the First Responders, Health Care Workers and/or Volunteers that have helped make Wellsville a resilient, friendly, and attractive place for those who live here during these trying times and look forward to meeting and engaging with those who continue to consider investing in our beautiful Wellsville Community. Thanks to all servicemen and servicewomen who continue to protect this GREAT Country.