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CALABASH—Mayor Anthony Clemmons drew objection when he moved to dissolve commissioner appointments last week.
The proposal to do away with Clemmons’ appointments to specific town departments was tabled at the Aug. 12 commissioners’ meeting.
Clemmons’ fact letter stated with the appointment of new town administrator Vincent Long, he felt it was no longer necessary to have “commissioner of” to the departments.
“I would like the town administrator to meet with each commissioner to establish other means of support and communications within and between departments,” Clemmons wrote in the agenda item.
Following Clemmons’ election last November and swearing-in in December, he appointed each of the town’s five commissioners to oversee different town departments.
Mayor Pro Tem Forrest King oversees finance, while commissioners and their respective departments include Bill Dixon, town services; Cecelia Herman, fire department; John Melahn, planning and zoning; and Emily DiStasio, personnel.
Herman said she didn’t quite understand Clemmons’ reason for doing away with the appointments.
“We had a town administrator when we created these reasons,” she said.
“At that time, commissioners pitched in, and at this time we have a full-time town administrator and full-time town clerk,” Clemmons said. “My reasoning is that we need to reorganize. That purpose is no longer valid.”
DiStasio said the League of Municipalities “likes the idea we intervene.”
She said Long also thought it was a good idea when he was interviewing for his job.
“I still think it’s a good idea,” she said. “We’re not department heads. We’re not going to tell him how to do his job. We’re just there to oversee and see what’s going on. I like the way it’s being done. I think it should stay.”
King said he thought town government could use a little more streamlining.
Herman said up until this year, the town has been cited in “every single audit for not enough oversight. I think we have a very competent town administrator and clerk now, but that doesn’t relieve us of our responsibilities.
“It’s the responsibility of this board to take the heat when things don’t go right. Why you all of a sudden want to do away with it, I don’t feel that you have explained your reasoning.”
King cited a proposed organizational chart that is included with Clemmons’ proposal to dissolve the eight-month-old appointments.
He said everyone still has responsibilities, but “every time you do anything and the town administrator gets involved, he has no surprises.”
“Before you take [the appointments] away, I think I need to know what you’re going to fill it with,” Herman said.
The organizational chart lists “citizens of the town of Calabash” at the top, with the mayor and board of commissioners in separate boxes beneath.
Below those are boxes listing King as finance commissioner, DiStasio as personnel commissioner, Melahn as policies and procedures commissioner, Herman as zoning commissioner and Dixon as town services commissioner.
Below that, the town administrator is listed as overseeing the town clerk and office assistant, the building inspector/code enforcement, town services, an accounting tech and emergency management team.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.