Appoint or Elect?

That’s what Nasewaupee voters will decide Nov. 8 about their clerk and treasurer positions

The Southern Door County School District isn’t the only entity placing referendum questions before voters this fall in the Town of Nasewaupee.

Voters there will also be asked whether they favor switching from electing the town clerk and treasurer to having the town board appoint those two positions.

The board backed an ordinance in May to place the following two questions on the Nov. 8 ballot:

• Shall the person holding the office of town clerk in the Town of Nasewaupee be appointed by the town board?

• Shall the person holding the office of town treasurer in the Town of Nasewaupee be appointed by the town board?

If approved, the positions’ salaries would be set by the town board and could not be reduced during the term in office. The term would be set by the board, but it could not exceed three years, according to the ordinance.

The appointed clerk and treasurer could be reappointed for additional terms, subject to town board approval, but their removal during a given term would be only for “cause,” as defined in state law.

The current town clerk, Jill Lau, who is also the elected Door County clerk, favors switching from an elected to an appointed town clerk.

“Approval of the appointments is more critical now than ever before,” she said. “The town is facing some big changes with the formation of a town fire department, the potential of a town-wide fiber build and borrowing, and of course, not new, but always, the ever-changing world of elections for the clerk.”

Aside from attending meetings and taking minutes, the biggest part of the town clerk’s job is elections, Lau said. If an elected clerk doesn’t keep up with the required election training, the board cannot remove the clerk from office, she said, but it can if the town clerk is appointed.

If the two referendum questions are approved, Lau said Nasewaupee would become the first Door County municipality south of the City of Sturgeon Bay with appointed positions.

“Only the southern municipalities still elect their clerks and treasurers,” she said. “The city and north, [the clerks and treasurers] are all appointed, with some having a combined position and some having deputies under the appointed clerk and/or treasurer.”

Nasewaupee’s current town treasurer, Carol Russell, expressed a preference for keeping her position elected when the board approved placing the referendum questions on the ballot, though she said she didn’t object to letting the voters decide whether the town treasurer should be appointed.

Russell said she favored having the whole community, rather than just the board members, decide who should be the town officers.

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