Hired Clerk a Good Idea in Arnold

1 Jul

I am going to take this rare opportunity to praise something the city of Arnold is planning to do, although this praise must come with a reservation. With the retirement of city clerk Diane Waller at the end of August (yay!), mayor Ron Counts wants to convert the job to a professional position, instead of an appointed one, according to the June 27 Leader.

Counts rightly argues that city clerk is an important job with a lot of duties (billing, taking minutes, placing candidate names on the ballot, etc.). He also said this will take politics out of the job. Politics were an issue under Waller’s term as clerk, though he will not admit it. She was the tool used by city attorney Bob Sweeney to remove disfavored candidates from the ballot, while keeping favored candidates who committed the same offenses on the ballot. She also perpetrated a vicious claim, substantiated by nobody and probably resulting from poor hearing, that former councilwoman Sandra Kownacki was spreading a rumor about Susie Boone’s sexual orientation (a rumor that Kevin Garrison unequivocally accepted as true).

Making this appointment a hired position, rather than one appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, has the potential to make it more professional and less political. The city seems to have made decent choices in its other hired positions (finance director, public works, etc.). But keep in mind that hiring for this position will be headed by the city administrator, who currently is not a man above politics (see his harassment claim). Shockey (if his permanent replacement isn’t hired beforehand) could use the fact that the new clerk is a professional hire to whitewash the selection of another crony. The clerk plays an important role in helping the regime maintain power, so we have to keep an eye on who the city selects to replace Waller.

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