Gaines town clerk candidate, the current county treasurer, vows to be watchdog for taxpayers

Posted 5 November 2017 at 8:33 am


I would like to address the Town of Gaines residents, taxpayers and voters:

My name is Susan Heard and I am running for Gaines Town Clerk. I have a long history with the Town of Gaines, dating back to 1974 when I became dear friends with former Town Clerk/Assessor Dean Sprague. Through this friendship, I had the pleasure of knowing everyone working in the Town: Town Clerk, Edna Woolston; Highway Superintendent, Cliff Kelly; Assessor, Gerard Morrisey; Tax Collectors, Florence Johnson (and later, Margaret Miles); and Bookkeeper, Doris Kelly.

Each individual left an impression on me as to how a Town should conduct business. Each role was separate and unique. They valued each other’s opinions; they valued the role they played in the smooth operation of the town, and they worked together for the common good for Town residents.  Town Supervisor, Ted Swiercznski, had one of the best, well-run town offices in the County and the Town of Gaines was a shining example of good government.

This is no longer the case. The role of Town Clerk has been stripped of duties that clearly belong to the position. Not because I say so, but because the Law says so. The Town Supervisor believes she is allowed to do whatever she wants, and fails to understand what “segregation of duties” means, as required by the State Comptroller’s Office and Town laws. The Supervisor has written and signed board minutes and resolutions; holds meetings without a clerk present; has been observed making change in the cash drawer; called another Town Clerk while completing a marriage license application; preparing vouchers and vendor rolls for payment; acts like the Clerk’s office is hers; and even interviewed and hired a deputy town clerk…these jobs belong exclusively to the Town Clerk.

The Town of Gaines needs a Town Clerk with a backbone, someone who is not afraid to stand up for right and wrong, legal and illegal, and knows the difference. I have the experience, knowledge and background to set this office back to the way it should be run. My government knowledge and experience is unique and vast: Tax Collector, Deputy County Budget Officer, State and Federal reporting, Banking, Investments, Notary Public, Payroll, Vendor rolls, along with expertise in governmental accounting, auditing, bond issuance, and too much to list. This experience includes Real Property Tax Law, General Municipal Law, County Law, Town Law, Village Law, and one of my favorites: Opinions of the State Comptroller. As well as writing Board resolutions relating to financial matters for more than 25 years, I have been a watchdog of taxpayer money for most of my adult life.

I have worked with every Town Clerk since Elmer Wahl in Albion, Edna Woolston in Gaines, Gordon Lee in Carlton, Larry Brown in Yates, June Stalker in Ridgeway…you name any one of them, covering a 40-year span, I have known and worked with them all! Anyone claiming I don’t know Town Clerk business is sadly mistaken, and may not realize the overlapping of duties between the Town and the County.

Why I am running for Town Clerk? I want to bring my experience, government knowledge and some wisdom (I have learned through the years) to the Town of Gaines. I can assure you, as your elected Town Clerk, I will do the jobs belonging to the Town Clerk, by virtue of Law.

Gaines voters, taxpayers and residents know me, know my family, knew my in-laws, know my work record, know my work ethic, have trusted me to be their watchdog, and know I will stand up against bullies on their behalf.

Public service is rewarding, helping people, knowing the right thing to do, the right thing to say, and my record speaks for itself. Clean audits. Good budgets.  Great people skills.  And I know, my old friend, Dean Sprague, will be rooting for me (from above) to follow in his footsteps.

Please vote November 7th at the Gaines Town Hall.  I would be honored to have your vote. Thank you very much.

Susan Heard

Candidate for town clerk endorsed by the Republican, Democratic and Independence Parties