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Hammond residents will vote on officials’ term length

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HAMMOND — Voters in Tuesday’s general election will have the opportunity to lengthen the terms of top town officials.

The proposition that will be on the ballot asks residents whether the town should extend terms — to four years from two — for the supervisor, clerk and highway superintendent.

If the proposition passes, residents will vote for candidates to serve four-year terms in those positions next fall.

The longer terms were proposed by resident Merritt V. Young in June, and more than 80 residents signed a petition supporting the change.

“The board would not discuss whether they were individually in favor it,” town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram said Friday. “The board decided to put it on the ballot, and let the voters decide.”

However, Mr. Bertram said he is in favor of extending the limits.

“For somebody new, two years isn’t very long to learn the process or to accomplish your goals,” he said. “For instance, we’ve been involved in the community plan for well over a year. There is a long learning process for a position like this.”

“Campaigns take time, even on a small scale,” Mr. Bertram said. “Petitions start in June; sometimes there is a primary. You can spend five months campaigning. For people who hold town positions part time, it can take time away from your limited time you have.”

Town Clerk Darlene V. Amyot said she is not in favor of extending term limits.

“I just think that two years is long enough,” she said. “If someone doesn’t know what they are doing, gets into trouble or isn’t doing a good job, you will only have them for two years before their term ends.”

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