Elect Or Appoint, One Step Closer

The decision to elect or appoint the Lenoir City Treasurer/Recorder took one step closer to a possibility at the Charter Review Committee meeting Thursday night. While no formal vote was taken by the committee,  the consensus was to forward to the council a recommendation to place the question of, appointment rather than election, of the Treasurer/Recorder on the February 5th election ballot.

City administrator, Dale Hurst, explained that Mayor Brookshire and some unnamed councilmen had requested the change in the charter that would eliminate the elected position. Citing concerns that an elected person doesn't have to answer to or take direction from any city official. Apparently, those who are wanting the charter change feel the city treasurer should be accountable to the council for their actions. Some committee members discussed the possibility of also adding qualifying requirements to the treasurer's position in the charter. They felt that it might relieve concerns of the public that someone might be hired for the job due to their friendship or relationship to council members. Hurst pointed out that if the job becomes appointed, the council by ordinance could prepare a job description. No qualifications were recommended by the committee. Three other charter changes are being recommended to the council. Two are merely small changes in the city attorney and police chief's job description. The other is to allow purchases in the event of a dire emergency.

Over all, it appears that those in favor of changing the charter are interested in doing so to gain control and authority over the city treasurer. The argument that the charter should be changed because an elected official answers to no one is not valid. One could also make the same argument pertaining to the city council and mayor. Maybe all elected positions in the city should be appointed rather than elected. But isn't that what an election really is? Don't the voters appoint/elect the person they trust will do the job? Elected officials answer to a far higher power than just the mayor and council. They answer to the voters. At such time the voters feel an official is not doing their job, they will terminate them at the ballot box. It's the American way. Hopefully the residents of Lenoir City will see clearly the wisdom of the majority of the voters appointing the treasurer, who handles all the money, rather than three councilmen and the mayor making that decision for them. After all it seems to have worked well for a 100 years.