To the editor:
Hardwick voters: we are voting Thursday, Dec. 9, (from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) at the Memorial Building on the select board’s proposed Charter changes. The ballot contains four articles.
I will be voting “Opposed to the Proposed Charter Amendments” on Articles 1, 3 and 4. Some of the changes make sense, but the one I disagree with is losing my right to vote for the town clerk and treasurer.
The select board is proposing changes that would allow them to appoint our clerk-treasurer, as well as the assistant clerk-treasurer. Currently the clerk-treasurer hires the assistant. In their explanation for doing this, they say the position is very technical and makes it impossible for an untrained clerk-treasurer to just walk into the office and do the job. In the last 60-plus years, the assistant has been elected to fill the position when the clerk-treasurer has stepped down. Therefore, I don’t see the need to change the system and take away the voters’ right to fill this position.
Article 2 is to combine the clerk-treasurer as a single position. Thus, we would only vote for one person. Our history shows this is what actually happens, so I agree and will vote in favor.
Other proposed changes in Article 1 are: changing select man (men) to select board;
Not electing listers, the select board will hire a professional firm to this work;
Not electing auditors, as the town hires professional auditors;
Not electing fence viewers, as the zoning administrator actually does this job;
Not electing trustees of public funds, as there is no job for this position.
Wording added to Section 123-906 police department; “whenever the Town of Hardwick shall maintain a police department” the Town Manager shall appoint the Police Chief. This was not mentioned in the legal notice in the Gazette or the two public hearings I attended. I discovered it in the proposed charter document when I was writing this letter. I wonder if the select board is looking to do away with our local police department and contract with a sheriff’s department or other organization. What services would we no longer have to protect us and what would the response time be if an officer has to travel a long distance, instead of already being in town? What is the cost difference?
You can find the proposed Charter changes at hardwickvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Draft-charter-3.pdf
Thank you for considering my opinion.