November ballot to include referendumThe November Ballot will ask Town of Hammond residents to cast one extra vote on Election Day. The ballots will include a referendum asking residents if they want to make the town treasurer an appointed position.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
Town of Hammond residents will have one more vote to cast on Election Day. The November ballot will include a referendum asking Town of Hammond residents if they want to make the town treasurer an appointed position.
At the Oct. 1 meeting of the Town of Hammond Planning Commission, Planning Commission Chairman Paul Heug said moving to an appointed position would help the town move forward.
“I think the options on an appointed position are going to be far greater than on an elected position,” Heug said.
With an appointed treasurer, Heug said one of the benefits would be the ability to keep one treasurer for a longer period of time. Heug said this would be a benefit because it would eliminate the possibility of re-training a new treasurer every two years; something Heug said costs the town time and money.
“It does come down to money,” Heug said, “but it also comes down to efficiency with running the town for the people that live in town.”
With an appointed treasurer, Heug said, the Town of Hammond would be able to keep a person in the position of treasurer as long as they choose, without the need for more training. The town board could even hire someone from outside of the town to be treasurer.
“We spend the taxpayers’ money and we want to make sure that they get what they’re paying for. Just because you’re elected doesn’t mean that you’re the best option.”
Heug said the town would be able to select only treasurers who meet certain basic skill requirements if the position is appointed. With the current, elected position, there are no such requirements for treasurer candidates. Appointing the treasurer would also allow the Town of Hammond to terminate the employment of a treasurer who failed to do their job.
Heug and other planning commission board members said some residents are worried that the referendum might affect the person who currently holds the position of town treasurer, Kathy Guski. Heug said this will not affect the currently-hired treasurer.
“We’re trying to make it so the people in the position now can stay there,” Heug said.
Heug said the method of selection is the only part of the treasurer’s position that would change, the salary would remain the same, it would not become a union job and the hours would remain the same.
The ballot will include the question “Shall the person holding the office of treasurer in the Town of Hammond be appointed by the town board?” If a majority vote “yes,” the town board will be authorized to appoint a treasurer in the future.
The referendum is following a previous referendum approved in April, giving the Hammond Town Board the ability to appoint the town clerk’s position appointed.
However, Heug said this does not necessarily mean the board will appoint a treasurer or clerk when the current treasurer and clerk’s terms end. He said the referendum will simply give the board the option to make the position appointed.
The board is still deciding whether or not it will make the position of clerk appointed and if the referendum for the treasurer position passes, they will also decide on the treasurer position. Heug said the board needs to decide in enough time to be prepared when the treasurer and clerk terms end.