Sunday May 13, 2012

During elections, a question that all voters must ask is -- "Is there a need for change?" This year the question presents itself in Dalton with the race for town clerk. Do the voters allow Barbara Suriner, a long-standing town employee and town clerk, to remain in her position or elect John Pitha, a relative newcomer to town administration and affairs?

Barbara Suriner has proven year after year that she is extremely qualified. I know of no one who might have the same knowledge and education for the job as she does. As a former town employee and department head, I worked closely with Mrs. Suriner. I found her to be dedicated, helpful, a team player and a caring person to those she serves and works for. She would be hard to replace. The work and time she puts in is well worth her base salary voted on at town meeting and the compensation she receives from licenses fees per state law.

I met Mr. Pitha recently at our town transfer station as he was introducing himself to town citizens. He seemed to be amiable and sincere about what he wanted to do. He told me that if elected, he would return the license fee percentage collected and currently retained by the town clerk (for such as dog and marriage licenses) to the town’s general fund; approximately $13,000. He further stated he would only collect the base salary for town clerk; approximately $37,000.

I allowed Mr. Pitha to speak and thanked him for his time.


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He also gave me his campaign card. I had hoped he would explained the qualifications he possessed to be town clerk. He didn’t address this issue, nor did his card. At this point, all I know is he would want to give back part of his salary to the town. I know nothing about what qualifies him for the position of town clerk. There is a great deal of knowledge and education needed to properly perform the duties of this office. Does Mr. Pitha possess such qualities? I have my doubts.

Is there is a need for change? I haven’t been given a reason. I strongly urge all voters in Dalton to re-elect Barbara Suriner as Dalton’s town clerk on May 14.

JOHN W. BARTELS, JR.

Dalton