CHATHAM–Village Mayor Tom Curran has opted not to reappoint Village Clerk Barbara Fischer. He plans instead to name Kathy Burke to the post, a decision that requires the approval of the Village Board.
The mayor announced his decision not to reappoint Ms. Fischer at the Village Board meeting March 28. Ms. Fischer was not present.
“That is a personnel issue that I can’t really talk about publicly,” Mr. Curran said at the meeting when asked why Ms. Fischer not reappointed. Mr. Curran did say after the meeting that he was acting on the advice of the new village attorney, Alex Betke.
“This is a tough issue, because she is well loved in the community,” Mr. Curran said.
Ms. Fischer was appointed deputy clerk by former Mayor Paul Boehme. After four years in that post she became village clerk in April 2011.
“You’d have to ask the mayor,” Ms. Fischer said when she was asked about her position after the meeting. “I’m very sad to not be there,” she said.
In response to a resident’s question at the March 28 meeting, Mayor Curran said he did not need to advertise the position because the clerk is a mayoral appointment. A village clerk is nominated by the mayor and approved by the board at the beginning of each two-year mayoral term.
Ms. Burke, if approved, will work 30 hours per week at $20 per hour. Ms. Fischer worked 40 hours per week at just over $18 per hour plus benefits. Mayor Curran said the village will realize some savings as a result of the shift.
Ms. Burke is a Ghent resident and currently serves as secretary of the Ghent Planning Board and secretary of the Columbia County Sportsmen’s Federation. She also spent eight years with New York Capitol Consultants, Inc., a small lobbying firm based in Albany.