Spafford officials take accountability one step further with new ‘official undertaking’

Each time an official steps up to serve the public, they take an oath of office at the beginning of their term. Now, officials in Spafford are joining other communities by annually reading and pledging to uphold the duties asked of them by signing an “official undertaking” at the first meeting of the year.

The undertaking states that the town supervisor, councilors, clerk, deputy clerk, justice, highway superintendent and tax collector will “faithfully perform and discharge the duties of our office, and will promptly account for and pay over all moneys and property received as a town officer, in accordance with the law.”

Essentially, the official undertaking a way to hold elected and appointed town officials accountable for the jobs they promised their constituents they will do in addition to taking an oath of office.

While the 2013 organizational meeting, held Jan. 10, was the first time the town of Spafford was presented with the document, it has been in the works for some time, said Town Clerk Lisa Valetta.

“I learned about it at a town clerk’s meeting a few years ago,” Valetta told the board. “It’s basically an oath that you will perform your duties.”

According to Valetta, the undertaking is an action the town should have been taking, but it took time to get the “whereas” and “therefore” statements worded right so everyone understood what was being asked of the town officials.

Also at the meeting:

—The board approved a request from Kathy Adams, chair of the town Zoning Board of Appeals, to attend the annual Association of Towns meeting from Feb. 17 to 20 in New York City. She estimated travel costs to be approximately $280 and plans to stay with friends as opposed to the additional cost of staying in a hotel. The board approved Adams’ request and also appointed her as the town representative for the meeting.

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