ENFIELD, N.Y. –– Two propositions will be on the Town of Enfield’s ballot for the 2020 general election to change the elected positions of town clerk and highway superintendent to appointed positions.

Town Proposition Number One states, “Shall there be approved and adopted in the Town of Enfield, New York, a Local Law entitled ‘Local Law Number 1 of 2020; A Local Law providing for the Abolition of the Elected Position of Town Clerk of the Town of Enfield and the Creation of the Appointed Position of Town Clerk of the Town of Enfield’, as approved by the Town Board of the Town of Enfield, to abolish the elected position of Town Clerk and create the appointed position of Town Clerk?”

Town Proposition Number Two states,  “Shall there be approved and adopted in the Town of Enfield, New York, a Local Law entitled ‘Local Law Number 2 of 2020; A Local Law providing for the Abolition of the Elected Position of Highway Superintendent of the Town of Enfield and the Creation of the Appointed Position of Highway Superintendent of the Town of Enfield’, as approved by the Town Board of the Town of Enfield, to abolish the elected position of Highway Superintendent and create the appointed position of Highway Superintendent?”

In July, the Enfield Town Board voted to put the proposed laws changing the elected offices of highway superintendent and town clerk into appointed positions on the November ballot. Current town clerk Ellen Woods began her tenure in January, and Highway Superintendent Barry “Buddy” Rollins has been in his position for over 10 years. 

Many Enfield residents expressed their disapproval of the proposed laws at public hearings in July. Also in July, over 100 Enfield residents submitted a petition, titled “Enfield’s Democracy is in Danger,” to the board asking for the right to vote on the next town supervisor and councilperson in the November 2020 general election rather than former Town Supervisor Beth McGee appointing one when she resigned, and that the positions of highway superintendent and town clerk remain elected positions.

McGee resigned Sept. 30, after she originally planned to in April. She continued in her position for five more months, citing the need to ensure that the town is in a stable place following the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the budget planning season approaching over the summer months. McGee’s term was set to expire Dec. 31, 2021.

Upon McGee’s resignation, Councilperson Mimi Mehaffey moved to appoint Councilperson Stephanie Redmond to town supervisor. Following a board vote on Oct. 5 and some opposition from Councilperson Robert Lynch to the appointment, Redmond was not approved for the position. Now, she is acting supervisor for the Town of Enfield.

The town board has until Dec. 31, 2020 to make an appointment for the position of supervisor. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, the vacancy can only be filled by a special election. Because this change in personnel was made so close to the general election, it will not be on the ballot Nov. 3. 

Less than a week after McGee’s resignation, Mehaffey resigned. The board, which usually has five members, now only has three. Since three votes are required for a majority vote, any future votes will have to be approved unanimously by Lynch, Bryant and Redmond until a new councilperson is added to the board. This process will be done through board approval and will not be on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The board has set Nov. 11 as the date for choosing a new councilperson to fill Mehaffey’s seat. The board is accepting one page letters of interest from candidates who are legal residents of Enfield and are at least 18 years old. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 4. The tenure is through Dec. 31, 2021.

As a reminder for those interested in voting person, early voting is taking place until Sunday, Nov. 1, at the Ithaca Town Hall at 215 N. Tioga St., or Crash Fire Rescue at 72 Brown Road. Find the early voting schedule here. Enfield ballots can also be cast from from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3, at 162 Enfield Main Road.

Madison Fernandez

Madison Fernandez is a contributing reporter at the Ithaca Voice. You can reach her by email at mfernandez@ithacavoice.com.