Letter: Keep Shaftsbury offices separate

Posted
To the Editor:

My experience as a former Shaftsbury treasurer leads me to conclude that combining the offices of Shaftsbury's town clerk and treasurer is not in the best interests of the town. Each position requires different skills and knowledge. One person cannot provide the level of service that the Select Board, the citizens of Shaftsbury, and the public expect and deserve due to the requirements of each position. Having two separate officials handling records and transactions provides an element of internal control that would be absent if the two positions were combined. Finally, the compensation proposed in the budget is fair when compared to that paid by similarly sized towns.

The skills required in both positions are different. There are also many times during the year the town clerk and the treasurer are each very busy with their respective duties; often these periods of busyness overlap. I know from my own experience that each individual works beyond his or her posted office hours.

Having a separate town clerk and treasurer strengthens controls over funds that are collected by the town clerk and transferred to the treasurer. Combining both positions increases the risk that an error may go undetected for a longer period.

The compensation budgeted for these two positions is fair and reasonable when compared to that paid by similarly sized Vermont towns for each of these positions. The town clerk is not a part-time position. These positions are not starting positions. The effect of their proposed compensation increases is less than one-half cent on the tax rate. We need competent individuals filling these positions and we must pay fair compensation to get and retain them.

The Shaftsbury town clerk and treasurer are very competent and dedicated; the town is fortunate to have their services. I recommend a vote for Marlene (formerly Barriere) Hall for town clerk and Melanie Dexter for treasurer.

William J. Fisk,

Shaftsbury

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