HARRISVILLE — Recently re-elected town leaders, each of whom have held office for a number of years and are considering retirement in the not-so-distant future, have appointed 30-something deputies, including replacing a long-standing deputy supervisor, in their first meeting of the year.
“We are all trying to be proactive and get people in their 30s involved,” Town of Diana Clerk Janet Taylor said, so there are people who understand how the town works to take over down the line if there is a need.
During its organizational meeting Tuesday night, the board approved the appointment of Zachary Smith as the new deputy supervisor, replacing long-term deputy and elected board member Raymond Gregory, according to Mrs. Taylor.
She said Mr. Smith has skills that made him a good choice as deputy, including grant writing. He is currently a building projects teacher at the Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES, according to his Facebook page.
He is not, however, an elected member of the board as has been the custom for deputy supervisors in the town, and therefore is not allowed to vote with the board, according to general municipal law.
According to Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Smith has been attending the town’s meetings since about October to see if he thought he would like to get involved in local government.
“The supervisor and the board worked with the [immediate past] deputy to try to develop a plan going forward,” Mrs. Taylor said, noting that because the board and all of the officers are nearing retirement, it’s possible “the whole board could be different in the next four years.”
While she said she is not aware of anyone with immediate or even near-future plans to step down, she said she would be surprised if either Supervisor David Parow or Highway Superintendent Darrell Seymour decided to remain in office for their full terms, but she also said that anything was possible and that she could speak only for herself.
Although Mr. Parow couldn’t be reached for comment, Mr. Seymour said he is “just waiting for his wife to retire,” but he’s not in a rush to stop being the highway superintendent.
His deputy is Richard Malbeuf, who is also approaching retirement.
“I don’t know what we’ll do then,” Mr. Seymour said, “But we’ll figure it out.”
In her 20 years as clerk, Mrs. Taylor said she has never had a deputy working with her, but over the summer, she and the board appointed Desiree Cowles, another 30-something, as her deputy.
“I’m only 60 and I’m not planning to retire any time soon,” Mrs. Taylor said, but she said she appreciated having Mrs. Cowles working with her, especially during tax season.
In Diana, even if one of the elected officials steps down and the board is required to appoint a temporary replacement, Mrs. Taylor said an election must be held on the next election day in order to fill the position and anyone can run.
Some municipalities allow the appointee to finish the regular term of the person who left rather than hold a special election.
Mr. Parow was first appointed supervisor in December 1998 when Gary Williams resigned from the position.