The Dresden Town Board has voted to move town clerk Marci Wilbur’s office from her home to the Dresden town hall, with supervisor Paul Ferguson breaking the tie for Wilbur’s move at the April board meeting.
“We’re just looking to remodel the town hall and while remodeling, we want to replace, supply, and provide all three offices,” Ferguson said at the June meeting.
Marci Wilbur, however, was adamant that the board does not have the authority to move her office based on a vote by the board.
“There is no provision in town law for the town board to dictate where the office of the town clerk is held,” she said. “The only thing it says in there is what authority our town board has, and it has no authority. I am an elected official; I do not work for the town board or the supervisor. I work for the town of Dresden.”
The board is looking to reconstruct the town hall building with the Champlain Hudson Power Express TDI line money it will receive in 2025. Wilbur said that the board needs to do more than vote during a regular monthly meeting on something as large as moving the town clerk’s office.
“If you are going to decide on whether or not the town clerk should be down here, it’s not up to the board. It’s up to the public and it should be put out for referendum at the next general election,” she said.
“It’s not up to the board, the board can’t tell me where to go and I won’t go. If you want to change it, change it for the next one.”
One of the reasons Wilbur presented to the board to keep her office at home is for serving the town when they need. She said that having her office at home gives people the chance to get what they need at any time.
“The additional work I do is after hours which I am clearly okay with which is why when you run, you are a public servant. You are here to serve the town and I’m not here to serve for myself or this board; It’s the town I am willing to serve, and I’ve been doing it for 14 ½ years from my home. As standard practice has been displayed in this town for every clerk since the beginning of this town has worked out of their home,” she said.
Wilbur said she wished board member Ed Raymond was able to attend the meeting as Wilbur’s clerk duties were fulfilled outside of normal set business hours for Raymond’s son on a Sunday evening.
“Two weeks ago, councilman Raymond’s son came into my office at 5:30 in the evening for a marriage license because his fiancé worked until 4:30. I told him to come back any time after dinner and I would be there,” she said.
Community member Anda Stipins-Gang attended the meeting and spoke of the need for more than a vote by the board. The idea of notifying the community of Dresden through the mail was brought up.
“Don’t you think that this is something that the public in town should be aware of and have some say?” she asked Ferguson.
“That’s what we’re doing now,” he said.
Stipins-Gang counted the eight people attending the meeting and then asked Ferguson if eight people would make the decision along the board and Ferguson responded, “yeah.”
“We’re looking for ideas,” board member Brown followed up.
Clerk Wilbur said that it’s not like she isn’t close to the town hall already and easily accessible to the community. She said she won’t be blindsided by the board, knowing she “doesn’t fit their agenda.”
“The idea behind the town clerk’s office is to be accessible to the townspeople and I don’t see why 1,500 feet from my house to the town hall is more accessible. You could shoot an arrow from my back door through the windows of the hall so I’m not more accessible being in the town hall,” she said.