“I do not believe that there is anything criminal or self-enriching going on”
September 27, 2023
I enjoyed serving the people of Alma as their Town Clerk. And I tried, for several months, to address ongoing issues with the Town Supervisor. Frustratingly, for reasons I do not know, he chose to ignore those issues. But the circumstances, in my judgment and consultation with people with background in Municipal Law, came to a point where I determined that the best choice for me and my family was to resign.
The leadership and administration of the Town is, in my opinion, chaotic, haphazard, and indiscriminate.
I want to make it clear that the Town Board members are capable and dedicated public servants. My concerns do not lie with the board members. Though part-time, it can be a difficult position. There are many rules, laws, and procedures that a functioning town must have that aren’t being followed. As in many towns, the town board follows the leadership established by the Town Supervisor. There have been some instances where board members disagreed, but it didn’t matter.
I was asked routinely by the Town Supervisor to perform duties and assume responsibilities that, by law, are his and not mine. I tried to help where I could, but increasingly, it seemed as if I was doing it all. It is hard to add something to a line item for payment using tax dollars when you know there is no policy or procedure in place or contact with the Town’s Attorney. Again, I regularly asked, “Have you contacted the town attorney?”
I also advised the Town Supervisor to contact Counsel at the Association of Towns and the Town attorney to adopt policies and procedures to address personnel matters, benefits, handling of taxpayer’s money, employee conduct, and job duties to ensure that town business is conducted according by law to those policies and procedures and not the whims those responsible for managing the town.
It is required, by law, that the Town Supervisor is to notify the County Clerk’s office if the Town Clerk resigns. I found out today, September 27, 2023, when I received a phone call from the County Clerk’s office that it didn’t happen. He requested that I drop off or mail in a copy so they have it on record. A Town Clerk’s only duty when resigning, is to file it with the Secretary of State, which I mailed on September 21, 2023.
The Town Supervisor treats town employees (elected officials) justified in the same class (group) differently. The most significant difference between these employees is their gender. We are similarly situated as elected officials. I know the rumor mill runs pretty rampant out there, so I wanted to be clear. I do not believe that there is anything criminal or self-enriching going on.
From my observations and in my opinion, the issues are ineptitude, laziness, and a simple disinterest in expending the time and effort necessary to find out what the laws and regulations require and conduct town business in accordance with them. Laws need to be followed in order to have a functioning town.
Sincerely, Heather Trask