FAIRHAVEN — Residents of Fairhaven are being asked their opinion on whether the position of Town Clerk should remain an elected position, or if it should become an appointed one.

The Fairhaven Town Clerk Study Committee has been charged by the Board of Selectmen to make a recommendation as to whether or not the town should go forward with an article at the May 5 Town Meeting to change the position of Town Clerk from elected to appointed. A meeting tonight will solicit public input to help them in making their recommendation.

Anne O'Brien, Human Resources Director for the Town of Fairhaven, said the Board of Selectmen annually holds a goal-setting session, in which they determine what things need review. She said with longtime Town Clerk Eileen Lowney opting to retire at the end of her current term, the time was right to put the clerk position under the microscope.

"If any changes are going to take place, this would be a good time to do it, because you wouldn't be impacting an individual, you'd just be changing the position," O'Brien said.

If residents do wish to see the Town Clerk position become an appointed one, there is also the question of who should be doing the appointing, which will be part of the discussion.

"That is also up to the discretion of the public," she said. "That can be the Town Administrator, it can be the Board of Selectmen. It can be a lot of different avenues."

Tonight's meeting will feature a PowerPoint presentation on what the role of the Town Clerk is, the history of the position and some of the possible reasons to change. O'Brien said after that, there will be open microphones for people to ask questions and share comments.

She said this is the final step for the Study Committee, before it meets next week to decide on its recommendation.

Voters are urged to attend Monday night's meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium. Light refreshments will be provided.

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