August 12, 2022
The Town of Kossuth Board is proposing to convert the Town Clerk position from an elected position to an appointed position. This is allowed by Wisconsin Statutes with elector approval.
There will be a binding referendum question on the November 8, 2022 election ballot.
The question will read as follows:
“Shall the person holding the office of town clerk in the Town of Kossuth be appointed by the Town Board?”
Approval of the referendum would take effect when the current clerk’s term expires in April of 2023.
The Board is making this proposal based upon the following facts:
- Our current Clerk has indicated that she will not seek re-election due to limited availability.
- The statutory deadline to put the question on the ballot expires in August.
- The work load of the clerk continues to increase with reports, election requirements, and record keeping which are primarily driven by State and Federal mandates.
- It is still considered a part-time position however the requirements, training, and time commitment have increased and needs to be recognized.
- An elected clerk must be a Town resident and the Board is not aware of qualified candidates willing to seek election, obtain training, and dedicate the requisite amount of time.
- There are nearly 30% of WI towns that have gone to appointed clerks and the trend is continuing in that direction. Some of these clerks serve multiple municipalities.
Advantages of an appointed clerk:
- Can have their qualifications, compensation, duties, and term of office set and managed by the Board. Note: The term may not exceed three years at a time per WI Statute.
- Does not have to be a Town resident (although it is preferred).
- Subject to criminal background checks to ensure a candidate is trustworthy and can be bonded.
- Additional duties can be assigned and provided in a job description in addition to the statutory responsibilities. Such as: website management, plan commission secretary, and budget preparation.
- Position would be subject to regular performance evaluations as a town employee.
- Can be removed from office for “cause” or not reappointed.
Town of Kossuth
- The position can be changed back to elected in the future by using the same process.