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Weigh in On Ossining Highway Super Position

Town of Ossining to consider changing the elected position to an appointed one. Public hearing tonight.

The Town of Ossining will host a public hearing at tonight's board meeting regarding a potential change in the municipal position of highway superintendent.

The position is currently filled through the town's election and is held now by Democrat Michael G. O'Connor, who was re-elected in November 2011 for a two-year term.

If voters pass a referendum being proposed by the board this year, the position will become an appointed one instead.

In a presentation given by the town board at a past town hall meeting, the town board said an appointed superintendent would undergo "a merit-based process."

In 2012, the salary allotted for the position was $89,536.

According to the presentation, with an appointed superintendent, "The Town could hire the most qualified & talented person for the job, regardless of political affiliation. Some exceptional candidates can not afford the time nor the expense of the election process."

In a Supervisor's Update by Susanne Donnelly , she wrote, "The Highway Superintendent controls a budget of $2.2 million: this responsibility should not be determined by a popularity contest, or because the election has been uncontested."

In addition to the town board's approval of an appointee, the presentation stated that candidates would be viewed by a hiring committee made up of board members, town administration and two residents of the unincorporated town.

Residents will have a chance to weigh in on the proposed referendum at tonight's 7:30 p.m. meeting to be held at the Birdsall/Fagan Police Court Facility, located at 86-88 Spring Street.

If the public votes in favor of the referendum this November, the town anticipates interviews for the position would begin in the summer and fall of 2013, with an appointment being made in January 2014, following the expiration of O'Connor's current term.

Will you attend tonight's public hearing to weigh in on the referendum? Are you for or against the change?

Click the .pdf to the right to view the town's full presentation on the issue.

Nancy Burke July 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM
I feel Mr.O'Connor has been doing a very good job. I have had several problems where he and his men have responded very quickly. I have been unable to attend the meeting but I have been keeping up on the matter. N.Burke
Philip Rader July 31, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I would consider a change only after Michael decides to retire. Why try to fix something that is not broken
L. Mazzella July 31, 2012 at 08:47 PM
The Highway Superintendant position is currently filled by the voters of the Town as are all the Town Board and Town Supervisor positions. These positions are currently filled by a popularity contest or because the position goes uncontested. Now you want to take away the vote of the people so that you can appoint your favorite person / friend. The voters of this Town are not that ignorant that they can not descide from themselves if the Highway Superintendant is qualified and / or is doing a good job. What qualifies you for your position - able to make budgets, run the water department, recreation department, receiver of taxes, building department, etc... how did you become an expert in everything after you got elected when all of you came to your positions with very little experience or any at all in most of these areas. I believe the voters should have the right to vote for Highway Superintendant and not leave it up to the Boards popularity contest.
stefano July 31, 2012 at 08:48 PM
The job that Mike O'connor has done has been terriffic. One only has to drive around the area during a snowstorm or other weather event to recognize the effort he and his staff put in. Why all of a sudden does the Town Supervisor think that she should be meddling in such a department? Does she have some sort of "issue" with the man? I think she should be working more at taking care of other budget items and hiring practices in other departments rather than focusing on a department that for years has always been on point. I doubt very seriously anyone on this so-called committee is qualified to "screen" potential superintendents. Is there a "political" favor do someone? Leave well enough alone....get rid of the BOONDOGGLE police building before you worry about whether or not Mr. O"connor is qualified to budget his department. I am sure he is very capable of that!
stefano August 01, 2012 at 01:11 AM
I just returned from the "public hearing on this subject. Ms. Donnelly despite a relatively small turnout insisted on a 3 minute limit for the 6 or 7 people who spoke on the issue. Clearly, all of the people that spoke were NOT in favor of changing the law and allowing the Board to APPOINT rather than have the taxpayers of the Town decide whether or not Mr. O"Connor needs to be replaced. There was not one negative comment made regarding the job that Mr. O"connor has done and when you take into consideration the LOW PAY as it relates to other Highway Superintendents in the area we of the Town are certainly getting our moneysworth from him and his department. I found out tonite that 4 of the 5 members of the Town Board do not reside in the Town but the Village. This is a travesty and instead of forcing a good soldier out of a job they should be focussing on changing the law to prohibit anyone from outside the Town being on the Town Board. I was amazed at the rude attitude that Ms. Donnelly presented towards any speaker who dared question whether or not they as a Board are qualified enough to make such an appointment. APPOINTMENTS lead to favors....votes lead to elected officials....We want to VOTE...on all of them.
Nancy Burke August 01, 2012 at 12:08 PM
I agree with you Stefano. Mr.O'Connor and his men have been doing a great job. Like you said, they are out there in storms doing their jobs. Mr. O'Connor should stay N.Burke
insider August 02, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Everybody who is concerned about this issue should take it one step further and contact your local newspaper!!! such as the gazette and post it in the opinion section.Do the right thing for your town and the superintendent and the department.

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