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LETTERS: It’s His Way or the Highway

— Over the past several months, I have observed the words and deeds of Gene Dinsmore with a mixture of frustration and concern. As you may recall, the current Lysander town board appointed Gene to the role of highway superintendent when I resigned as planned in April 2012. Gene’s only been on the job for six months, but it already seems like it’s his way or the highway. Gene began to attack the board and town supervisor within the first 60 days on the job. Based on my experience as Lysander Highway Superintendent from 2005 through 2012, I can say with complete conviction that this role should be appointed by the Lysander Town Board.

After only six months on the job as highway superintendent, Mr. Dinsmore suggests that he knows everything there is to know about how best to lead and manage the highway department and the Town of Lysander. Mr. Dinsmore believes his six months of experience, as well as his so-called expertise extends to whether and why his position should be elected and not appointed. Given my experience as an elected highway superintendent, I can speak with authority as one who has seen both sides of this issue. I have to say that I couldn’t disagree more with Mr. Dinsmore. But rather than rant and rave like Gene does, allow me to calmly and clearly explain why I disagree.

If elected, any highway superintendent candidate need only be at least 18 years of age, live in the town of Lysander and able to negotiate a political party endorsement. If appointed, the applicant must pass a civil service exam, and meet the experience and education requirements established by the town board for such a role. If elected, any highway superintendent can walk away from the negotiation table at any time, refusing to play and taking his bat and ball with him. If appointed, the superintendent is legally-bound to negotiate agreements, in good faith on behalf of the town’s taxpayers. The highway superintendent works autonomous if elected but must depend on the town engineer, who reports to the town board.

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