Justice position questions

To the News Enterprise:

The Johnsburg Town Board has done it again. They continue a long tradition of insider dealing and politics. Those elected to the Town Board over the last several years campaigned on platforms that promised change and transparency, but their actions speak so much louder than words.

After generously serving our community as town justice for 22 years, Judge French recently announced his retirement with three years remaining in his elected term. When an elected official resigns mid term, the law allows for their replacement either by special election or appointment of a temporary replacement who may serve until the next scheduled election. Special elections require permission of the governor and are seldom approved because they are very costly. Temporary appointment gives a potential candidate the advantage of incumbency when the calendar rolls around to the next scheduled election.

So at the last Town Board meeting the first announcement of Judge French's retirement was made and very conveniently, there was already a letter of interest in the supervisor’s pile of communications. The Town Board had a few options. If transparency was a goal, they would have publicized the vacancy and solicited letters of interest. Instead they rushed to select the one applicant who, apparently, had the advantage of some advance notice. The appointee may, very well, be qualified; that’s not the issue. The issue is that there are other qualified candidates in the community who were deprived of an opportunity to apply for consideration and these residents were deprived of the advantage of incumbency. The issue is that it appears more than coincidental that there was only one applicant. No mention in the newspaper, no fliers posted around town and no mention on Facebook even though other town appointee vacancies appear in such places with some consistency.

Our elected officials have proven that once elected, they all change their goals and forget their campaign promises.

We should all thank Judge French for his dedicated public service. Then ... we should begin pressing our neighbors to step up to run for elected office with a very simple goal of replacing all of the incumbents. By the way, does anyone remember one of the currently serving officials who mentioned term limits during his campaign?

Mark Bergman, North Creek

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