ELLSWORTH – Next week, voters throughout Hancock County will be asked whether they would like the treasurer’s position to be filled by appointment rather than by election.
The question is a countywide referendum on the Nov. 8 election ballot.
Hancock County’s three commissioners agreed on April 12 to put the question to voters but the issue dates back to 2003, when the chairman of the county’s budget advisory committee suggested that the position be changed from elected to appointed.
County Clerk Ray A. Bickford Jr. said commissioners are concerned that the treasurer’s position should be filled by someone with the expertise to handle the increasingly complex financial issues of the county.
Should the change be approved, it would take effect after the term of the current county treasurer, Sally Crowley, expires on Dec. 31, 2006.
Crowley said the issue is more complicated than it seems. Before casting their ballots, voters must ask themselves whether future treasurers should be responsible to the board of commissioners or to the people of the county, she said.
She declined to say publicly whether she favored filling the position by appointment or election.
“It has to do with our checks and balances,” she said. “I understand both sides of the issue.”
Crowley, who holds a master’s degree in business administration, was elected in 2002. She previously served as a town manager for 12 years in the communities of Gouldsboro, Machias and Winter Harbor.
If the commissioners were to nominate her for the treasurer’s appointment, Crowley said she would accept.
“I’m very happy here,” she said.
Last year, Knox County voters adopted a charter that made the treasurer and registrar of deeds positions appointed rather than elected.