For the second time this year, the Town of Luther has lost its Town Clerk.
Trandy Langston was appointed to Town Clerk in May, succeeding Laura McCuddy. Her last meeting was August 9, 2016. In Langston’s resignation letter (below), she cited concerns about a lack of legal representation.
The Town’s claim sheets for the August meeting includes charges from the Town attorney’s law firm. Rosenstein, First & Ringold for $1,683.00. It was unclear whether Attorney Bryan Drummond had been contacted regarding the August meeting agenda or other matters. In late 2015, the Town Board did not meet for two months while the town did not have representation. Drummond was hired last December at a rate of $225 an hour, plus travel costs.
Drummond has 20 years experience in municipal law including the Open Records Act, the Open Meeting Act, limitations on the use of public funds, eminent domain, public utilities, conflicts of interest, the Governmental Tort Claims Act and employment issues, he wrote in a letter to the Town.
Among other things, the clerk prepares the meeting agendas, records and prepares minutes from the meetings, and advises on compliance with various municipal laws and Open Meetings and Open Records laws. The Clerk performs these duties for the Town Board, Luther Public Works Authority, Planning Commission and any Special Meeting of those groups. The Town Clerk is paid $60 per month, but nothing for the time it takes to get ready for the meeting, and prepare the meetings (or communicate with the media).
Of course Town Trustees who are either elected or appointed are not compensated for their time either.
The Town is expected to seek applications for another Clerk to appoint before one can be elected in Spring 2017, along with four open Town Trustee positions. For now, Office Manager Crystal Wilson is serving as Deputy Town Clerk as well as Court Clerk.
Earlier this year, former Town Clerk and Treasurer Donita Roby pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing money from the town. She was arrested in 2014. Her suspended felony sentence does not require her to serve prison time but to repay the $48,000 she embezzled from the town. She is ordered to repay the town $200 monthly until the money is paid back. It is unclear whether the Town has received any of that money as yet, as the Town does not provide monthly revenue statements.