ANSON — The Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday night in favor of holding a special town meeting to change the position of tax collector from an elective office to an appointive one.

The board voted 4-1 to hold a meeting at a date yet to be determined. Inez Moody was the only board member who voted against the proposed meeting.

“It’s long been my feeling that the position should be appointed,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Arnold Luce said. “We tried it 15 years ago and it didn’t fly, and I think it’s time we did something.”

The proposed change comes in the midst of an ongoing police investigation into the disappearance of more than $300,000 in missing excise tax revenue over the last three years from the Town Office, according to auditors. In April police seized $58,500 in cash from the home of longtime tax collector Claudia Viles as part of the investigation into the missing money.

Board members say the proposed change to the tax collector’s position is not related to the investigation, although making the position appointive would provide more oversight, according to Luce.

“I’m hoping you will follow through and arrange for that change to be made from an elected position to an appointed one with a hiring process,” said Ellen McQuiston, a resident at Tuesday night’s board meeting. “I would like to know if there are plans to do that.”

In order for the position to be changed, Administrative Assistant Tammy Murray said residents would need to vote on the proposal in a special town meeting at least 90 days before the annual Town Meeting, at which date the change would go into effect.

A petition is not needed to call the special town meeting, Murray said, though McQuiston said it could be useful in order to gauge the public’s feeling on the issue.

There was also discussion of writing a town ordinance that would outline a recall process for elected officials such as tax collector.

“We’re not in the 19th century,” McQuiston said. “We need someone who is qualified and is answerable to officials so that if there’s a problem they can be fired or put on leave. I think it’s something we need to look into for the best wishes of the town.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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