Readers Write: Abolish the Town Clerk’s office

The Island Now

When I got into the business of selling securities, I had to make at least 400 phone calls a week. Residences at night, businesses by day.

As days and weeks went by, I couldn’t help but notice that every time I dialed a travel agency, the phone line was disconnected. This became so predictable after a few months, it was plainly apparent that websites like Orbitz had ruthlessly obliterated an entire industry in no time, rendering the business model they thrived on utterly useless.

This past week, it was announced that Judy Bosworth, the supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead, would not seek re-election, paving the way for Town Clerk Wayne Wink to clinch the office. With the position being vacated, now is the time to remove it from the process of a public election.

At one point many years ago, there might have been a rationale for electing a clerk. Personally, I can’t think of one. But in this age of data capture, there is nothing an elected official can bring to a job like this.

There’s no political scrimmage line to hash out except as a patronage position, which, elected or not, it is anyway. But like the travel agency, this is now a redundancy.

Aside from that, so much of what our political class does has so little to do with the act of governing. Fundraising and self-promotion get the lion’s share of time and resources these days, and that speaks to the evolving nature of all enterprises these days.

Technology cuts out a lot of the grunt work that needed to be done before. So much time is wasted just getting in front of a camera, and that explains all of the podium posing and ribbon cutting. So, governing has been turned into a perpetual schlockfest of media staging.

If we keep the position as an elected office, all we do is ensure someone will be running around the town glad-handing at VFW halls, posing with the Girl Scouts and the like, as opposed to actually performing the task they were elected to do. It’s the 21st Century. I think we can fold up the act.

It’s a small step towards rationalizing government, and I don’t expect it to happen. Loading the boat with bodies is what our political parties live for, and to hell with any ideas about efficiency or reducing bloat.

One would think that the COVID crisis would add some urgency to a process like that. But nothing moves these people.

However, if one wanted to do this bloodlessly, now would be that time. The county’s other town clerks would still, however, be condemned to the rubber chicken circuit. But that would be their business.

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