MALONE -- The Town of Malone is seeking permission to add a referendum to the November ballot, asking voters if they want an appointed highway superintendent rather than an elected one.

Alvin Livernois, the man in the job now, is expected to retire when his four-year term ends on Dec. 31, 2009, and depending on the outcome of a possible referendum, a new person would be appointed by the Town Council on Jan. 1, 2010.

A public hearing on a proposed local law to gain permission from town residents to place a referendum on the ballot will be held Wednesday, May 14, at 5:15 p.m. in the Town Offices at the Malone-Dufort Airport.

It is the same evening as the Town Council's next regular board meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

It is preceded at 5:45 p.m. by a meeting of the town's Industrial Development Agency.

"This has been kicked around many times," said Town Supervisor Howard Maneely, adding that the move from an elected to an appointed person would make sharing services with the Village of Malone, Franklin County and other nearby municipalities easier.

An elected highway superintendent "is his own boss," which means a town's governing body would have little control over him and how he runs his department in the event an issue came to light.

But Maneely was quick to add there is no such concern over Livernois or his performance of duties.

The timing for making the switch, if voters approve it, is based on Livernois's expected retirement and the possibility of shared-services opportunities.

"If this passes, it will be responsible of the Town Board to find a qualified person and appoint them," Maneely said.

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