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COLUMN: Proposed change could streamline operations, bring more accountability

— We have been asked why we are looking into changing the status of two long-standing elective town positions to appointive. Time and circumstances often bring a need for change.

After the elections in 2011, we, the supervisor-elect and the two councilors-elect, started discussing ways to streamline and reduce costs of the operations of the Town of Lysander. In this regard, we started discussions with the Town of Van Buren and the Village of Baldwinsville to look at means of cooperation through inter-municipal agreements.

We found some things that created difficulties as we moved forward in our discussions. We talked about the different unions, the number of elected positions and the various positions, which are duplicated between the three municipalities. Unionized positions are not up for discussion at this time. We talked about the need for changing some elective positions to appointive. The Town of Van Buren was already in discussion about making this change in the Highway. After many executive sessions, we decided to present a plan to our constituents for changing both the highway superintendent and the town clerk positions from elective to appointive. We did this in executive session because under the Open Meetings Law, personnel changes are discussed in executive session.

The overriding desire to make these changes is to more easily position the town to move forward in developing inter-municipal cooperative agreements between the two towns, the village and the school district. In the future, we feel that costs are going to be reduced through such agreements. Changing from elective to appointive is the first step in this process.

In addition, as the governing body to which the people have given the responsibility for overseeing the operation of the town, we are recognizing the need for close cooperation and coordination among all departments. Those in charge of departments need to be in daily communication with the town supervisor in order to help facilitate efficiency of operations.

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