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Walworth Township votes on two appointments

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Ted Sullivan
October 21, 2008
— Voters in Walworth Township will decide Nov. 4 whether the clerk and treasurer should be appointed instead of elected.

The clerk and treasurer in the 1,700-resident township south of Delavan are elected to two-year terms, town chairman Joe Abell said.


The referendum would allow people in the positions to be appointed by the town board for three years without term limits, he said.


The board believes it would be easier and more consistent to have the positions filled with the same people for a longer period of time, Abell said.


"We're trying to make it so they stick around," he said. "Some of the other townships have had clerks for years."


Clerks and treasurers require training, town supervisor Bill Pearce said. But they might be gone after two years.


"It takes a new person about two years to really get the hang of things," Pearce said. "People get frustrated and just give up. It's a pretty demanding job."


Clerks and treasurers also need to know about ordinances, development, budgets planning and other issues facing towns, he said.


"There are some educational programs we want to send them to, and it's expensive," Abell said. "We hate to send them to school, and then they get voted out."


Critics say the town's residents will no longer have any power to decide who serves as clerk and treasurer, he said.


But people without any qualifications could get elected to the jobs, Pearce said.


Towns then have problems with clerks not having computer skills or treasurers not having accounting skills.


"A popularity contest sometimes wins it," Pearce said. "It doesn't mean the person is qualified."



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