Like other towns in the state, Edgartown may look at changing the town clerk from an elected to an appointed position.
Edgartown town clerk Wanda Williams told the selectmen Monday that she would like the town to look into making the change.
“There are so many things going on with vitals and elections, if we don’t have someone who is going stay around . . . we’re going to be kind of up a creek for the next presidential election,” Ms. Williams said. She said rules and regulations for absentee voters have changed, and early voting is on the rise.
She said the issue would have to go before town meeting, and also be placed on the ballot at a town election.
Ms. Williams, who has been Edgartown’s town clerk for 21 years, said that as of a few years ago, 108 Massachusetts town clerks were appointed. Others have likely changed from elected to appointed since then. “You can’t just win on a popularity contest anymore and know what you’re doing,” Ms. Williams said.
On the Island, all towns except for Chilmark elect the town clerk.
“I think it’s a really good idea,” selectman Arthur Smadbeck said.
“I’d like to point out Wanda Williams is always the highest vote getter,” Mr. Smadbeck added. In Edgartown, the town clerk is elected to a two-year term. In 2011, Ms. Williams was re-elected without contest and was the highest vote getter with 635 votes.
According to the Massachusetts Municipal Association, since 1997 towns have had the power to change positions such as town clerk and treasurer from elected to appointed without needing approval from the legislature.