SOMERS, N.Y. – The Somers Town Board on Thursday tabled a proposal to extend the supervisor’s term from two years to four. The board agreed not to rush the proposition onto the November ballot, but to keep it on the back burner and consider it for the future.
Several Somers residents spoke in opposition. Polly Kuhn said, “The supervisor ought to have a job review every two years. It’s not really necessary for the supervisor to spend a lot of time campaigning, and it doesn’t require a superfund to pay for it.”
Fran McLoughlin objected that the idea was generated by an “acting” board member, Richard Benedict, appointed when Harry Bolton retired unexpectedly earlier this year.
Maureen Devine reiterated the statement she made at an Aug. 9 public hearing. She said a four-year incumbency could upset the balance of power on the board and would deny her the civic right to vote. She, too, objected to Benedict’s input and asked why he is promoting the idea. “He is not an elected official,” she said, referring to him as “an interim lame duck” and “an interloper.”
Benedict responded, “You may disagree with my idea, but don’t question my motives. I believe a four-year term would be more efficient use of the supervisor’s time, because it takes a year just to get familiar with everything.” In that respect, “it’s a more efficient use of the town’s money,” he said.
“We don’t have to vote on this now, but I think it’s an issue the town should face,” Benedict added. “The people vote on it, so it really doesn’t take any power away from the people.”
Council member Richard Clinchy said, “I think it’s an honest question. Sometimes there’s value in looking for a better way to do things. You have to ask, what is the best way to run a town government?”
Council member Rick Morrissey said, “I’m in flavor of it. Government is getting very complicated. We don’t have to rush into it. But we should consider it.”
“I’ve talked to a lot of people about it,” said council member Tom Garrity. “I think it’s a good idea. I haven’t met anybody who’s against it.”
Benedict said, “When you consider the volume of work that comes through town and the limited number of people we have working, it seems like a more efficient use of the supervisor’s time. This is not a political issue.”