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Morristown stalls decision to make town highway superintendent appointed

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MORRISTOWN — The Town Council is considering making its highway superintendent position appointed, rather than elected.

The board tabled the issue at Tuesday’s meeting.

“They wanted to look a little more deeply into the position as an appointed position before voting on it,” said Town Supervisor Frank L. Putman.

If the board approves the proposal, it will be brought before the public as a referendum on November’s ballot, giving the town until December 2013 to define the position.

David Murray, town clerk, said the board has until Sept. 20 to vote on the measure so that it can be placed on the ballot. If the board acts after that date, the town would have to call a special election.

Current Highway Superintendent Michael L. Bogart has served in that capacity since 1992.

“I prefer to keep it the way it has been,” he said of the proposal, arguing that it is “more or less” tradition.

Mr. Putman said the rationale behind the proposal is a matter of efficacy.

“The board believes that they would have a little more input on whether the superintendent would be a working superintendent that might actually save money on the highway,” he said.

Mr. Bogart said he doubted much about the position would change, but said he understands the position of the board.

“I can see where they are coming from because the job has become more technical over the years,” he said.

Mr. Bogart said the board if given the power to appoint someone to the post could pick someone especially qualified for the job.

Even so, Mr. Bogart said he believes the people should have a choice about who serves as highway superintendent.

Currently Mr. Bogart receives a $51,959 salary from the town.

It has not been decided whether making the position an appointed one would impact that salary.

Mr. Bogart, 66, is considering retiring at the end of his term, which expires in December 2013.

“I haven’t made my mind up,” he said.

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