Shelby town government needs fair process for filling vacancies

Posted 17 March 2018 at 6:05 pm


On Jan. 2, 2018, I faxed my letter of interest for the available Shelby Town Board position to the Shelby Town Hall. I have the electronic confirmation stamp of the date and time. I also gave copies of the same letter to each member of the board that night at the board meeting.

For over two months, I waited for a reply. At one point, I heard in the community that the Shelby Republican Committee would be interviewing Town Board candidates. I expected to hear from the Shelby Republican Committee about the timeline or an interview date.

I recently learned the Shelby Republican Committee endorsed someone else, without granting me and another person who applied an interview. If there was another step in the process that we needed to take, the town and committee never informed us. I also find it disturbing that my letter was never acknowledged by either the town or the committee. My brother had the same experience recently when he applied for the Town Planning Board.

My local farming operation owns 28 properties in Shelby and leases another 10. I pay taxes on my home and 16 other properties in town. It is unprofessional and blatantly discriminatory for the town and the Shelby Republican Committee to completely ignore any taxpaying citizen’s formal inquiry seeking an open seat on any board.

I strongly advise town government to create a formal policy with effective oversight on how candidates are interviewed and chosen for available board positions. Town, zoning, planning, assessment review and other boards should be comprised of a cross-section of able-bodied people with different skills, ideas and opinions. With multiple applicants, there should be no back-door dealings, no members crossing over to serve on multiple committees throughout the town and county with blatant conflicts of interest, making ethically questionable decisions and discriminating against the same taxpaying citizens who helped put them in office and whose tax dollars pay the bills.

Whether elected, appointed or employed in local government at any level — officials and employees are duty-bound to serve the many, not the few.

Jim Zelazny