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Sheridan warned of court clerk crisis

Submitted Photo Sheridan town Justice Lydia Romer speaks at the last meeting of the Sheridan Town Board.

SHERIDAN — Sheridan Town Justice Lydia Romer, Judge John Szumigala, and court Clerk Eva Gadewoltz came to the Sheridan Town Board this month with a plea: finding and retaining additional town clerks to help the town.

Romer went into detail about how the position of deputy court clerk sees heavy turnover, largely due to the non-competitive wage and other various factors. Ashley DuBois, now the deputy town clerk in Dunkirk, was used as an example by Romer to demonstrate the problem being presented to the board.

“Ashley DuBois worked part time for us for five years,” said Romer. “She left for a while because she needed full-time work and when our new hire didn’t work, she came back part time for us and part time for Dunkirk … on the understanding that Sheridan would take priority whenever there was a conflict.”

According to Romer, it all went wrong with DuBois when she was told her $50 annual dues to the Clerk’s Association weren’t being covered by the Town, as she was not considered a court clerk.

“Judge Szumigala and I both thought she was a court clerk and knew nothing about the $50,” said Romer. “But when Dunkirk heard about it, they created a full-time position for her.”

Romer said she and Szumigala believe that it is now time for Sheridan to hire a full time deputy court clerk, which should come with a predictable annual salary, and increases according to a published schedule.

“It should be tied into a reasonable rate for the standard of living,” said Romer. “And not some arbitrary and capricious figure based on what departments made last year.”

Gadewoltz too voiced her concerns, over both losing DuBois and creating the position that could help the court out. “There’s enough work for two full-time clerks in Sheridan,” said Gadewoltz. “Not too many people want a low paying part time job with no benefits. … Ashley goes full time (in Dunkirk) on June 1, we need to post the job as soon as possible so the hiring process can begin.”

Sheridan Town Supervisor John Walker recognized the problems presented to the Town Board, and agreed there has to be action taken on the matter. “Some things take longer to figure out than you think,” said Walker. “Not that it doesn’t need to be looked at, because it does.”

The next Sheridan Town Board meeting will be on Wednesday, June 8 at 7 p.m.

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