Former Shelby town supervisor urges support for longer supervisor term

Posted 13 October 2022 at 11:53 am


On election day next month residents of the Town of Shelby will be asked to vote about extending the term of the town supervisor from two to four years.

I know some people were thinking I was looking to extend my term. This is not true because the local law, if passed, would not be in force until the 2023 election for supervisor. It was never my intention to run again in 2023.

This was all about the current reality of the town supervisor’s responsibilities. It takes more than two years to learn this job. The town would benefit greatly from having someone that knows what s/he is doing, especially since that person is responsible for the town finances.

If the proposal passes, the town would elect three board members in an election, and then elect two members two years later. The town clerk, highway superintendent, and town board members are elected for four years. At present, only the supervisor, who like the board members is part time, is elected every two years.

This whole process did start with me realizing the complexities of the job and wanting to set the next supervisor up to succeed. There were some informal discussions with board members, I believe it was raised at a work session, and then voted on at a regular meeting.

Since this issue has to go to a public vote it was necessary to schedule a public hearing. Every public hearing since I became supervisor has been advertised in the Pennysaver. Darlene Rich, the town clerk, is a stickler about getting notices posted timely, and properly.

Most public hearings are poorly attended, and if there is not much comment, we may vote on the issue during the regular board meeting that often follows the hearing. If there were many comments, we might hold off on voting to consider the comments.

At the board meeting on Tuesday, complaints were raised about us not informing the public as to what is going on. I find this to be untrue. We have always had minutes for meetings, and now minutes are on the web site.

Besides the required notifications in the paper, meeting dates are posted on the web site, and since Covid hit we have been trying to broadcast all meetings and hearings. There have been some growing pains with trying to produce a live feed for meetings. We have done equipment upgrades and it is still a struggle. The town clerk, deputy clerk, and bookkeeper have put forth a lot of effort to keep us live. Tuesday’s meeting had audio problems. The clerk has a plan to fix this.

The best solution to bad audio and video is a seat in the boardroom during meetings. The more often you attend, the more you know. It is not fair to accuse the board and employees of trying to hide what is going on if individuals put in little effort to stay informed.

Please get out and vote in November, either for or against the proposal to increase the supervisor term to four years. The town is also in need of good, fair-minded people to run for the board.

Even though our town actually has a road named Podunk, we are not some backward area. There are many important matters before the board which need to be acted upon before our town returns to its normal, quiet ways.

Jeff Smith

Former supervisor Town of Shelby