SHERIDAN — Sheridan City Judge Lydia Romer, Judge John Szumigala and Court Clerk Eva Gadewoltz came to Sheridan City Council this month with a plea: find and retain additional clerks to help the city.
Romer detailed how the assistant clerk position experiences high turnover, largely due to the uncompetitive salary and other miscellaneous factors. Ashley DuBois, now deputy clerk in Dunkirk, was used as an example by Romer to demonstrate the problem presented to council.
“Ashley DuBois worked part-time for us for five years,” Romer said. “She left for a while because she needed a full time job and when our new recruit didn’t work she came back half time for us and half time for Dunkirk… on the understanding that Sheridan would have priority in case of conflict. ”
According to Romer, it all went wrong with DuBois when she was told her $50 annual Clerks’ Association dues weren’t covered by the City, because she wasn’t considered a clerk.
“Judge Szumigala and I thought she was a clerk and knew nothing about the $50,” Romer said. “But when Dunkirk heard about it, they created a full-time position for him.”
Romer said she and Szumigala believe now is the time for Sheridan to hire a full-time assistant clerk, who should come with a predictable annual salary and increase according to a published schedule.
“It should be linked to a reasonable rate for the standard of living”, Romer said. “And not an arbitrary, capricious number based on what departments did last year.”
Gadewoltz also expressed concerns, both about losing DuBois and creating the position that could help the court. “There’s enough work for two full-time clerks at Sheridan,” said Gadewoltz. “Not many people want a part-time job with low pay and no benefits. … Ashley is leaving full time (to Dunkirk) on June 1, we need to advertise the position as soon as possible so that the hiring process can begin.
Sheridan Town Supervisor John Walker acknowledged the issues presented to City Council and agreed that action needed to be taken on the matter. “Some things take longer to understand than you think” says Walker. “It’s not that he doesn’t need to be looked into, because he is.”
The next Sheridan City Council meeting will be Wednesday, June 8 at 7 p.m.