Voters asked to consider change in how County Treasurer is selected

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine - On the November 6th ballot there will be a question asking voters to approve a change being proposed by the Aroostook County commissioners to change how the County Treasurer is selected. Kathy McCarty spoke with the County Administrator to find out what the change would mean for voters.

Shall the position of elected County Treasurer be abolished and replaced with a treasurer appointed by the county commissioners? County Administrator Ryan Pelletier says this is how many towns and cities have evolved, providing greater accountability and efficiency in handling the financial day-to-day transactions of county government.

"As things have changed over time, the elected position has become less and less needed as more emphasis is being put on the staff that actually handles the day-to-day transactions of doing that work. And so the current elected County Treasurer has decided not to seek re-election, and so I just thought it was a great opportunity - opportune time to ask the voters to make this change."

Historically the County Treasurer position has been responsible for such duties as collection of taxes, receipt of revenues from the state, and payment of bills.

"The plan would be that if the voters approve this at the polls, we would simply appoint an existing member of our finance staff as the County Treasurer."

He says it's similar to how some towns and cities have appointed a town manager or finance director to that role, resulting in a cost savings for their community. In The County, he says it will result in a savings of a little over $10,000.

"It's not really about the money, it's about the practicality of relying on essentially a volunteer - almost volunteer position to conduct the treasurer role of what is essentially a $10 million dollar corporation."

Pelletier says it doesn't fit in today's world of hoping you'll end up electing someone who either has the skill sets or doesn't have the skill sets and has to learn the job. It's a position of responsibility, overseeing public funds. He feels the best direction for The County's financial governance is to have a member of their staff overseeing the process - a decision voters will make on Tuesday.