Political turf war in Boston—a ‘sign’ of the times?

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BOSTON, N.Y. (WIVB) – A political turf war seems to be heating up in the Town of Boston over staffing for the town clerk’s office, after a state judge issued a ruling that just seemed to add fuel to the conflict that started last year.

Signs of the struggle are all over town, they call for supporting Town Clerk Jennifer Mule, a morale boost for Mule who has been running the clerk’s office at town hall by herself.

“I just try to come in, do my job, and do what the residents have elected me to do,” said Mule at her desk in the town clerk’s office.

Mule used to have two deputy clerks to help process the town’s business, but last year, the town board decided if the deputy clerks want to be paid, they would have to apply for town jobs.

The two deputies didn’t apply, so as Deputy Town Supervisor Jay Boardman explained in an interview back in January, the board hired two clerical staffers to replace them.

“They were given written notification that they were no longer employees, turn in your equipment. You did not apply for your position, this will be considered a voluntary separation from employment–they simply didn’t re-apply.”

But when the new clerical staffers were sent to the Clerk’s office to start work, Mule sent them away, refusing to allow them in her office. Locks were changed and then changed back.

Then last week, a state judge ruled, Mule does have the authority to appoint her deputies, and the town board has the right to not pay them.

Since the clerk has barred those two new staffers from her office, they have been assigned other duties in another office at town hall.

Some of the town residents taking sides in this struggle between elected officials–about a dozen property owners, including Barbara Moore–have been summoned to town court for violating the town code requiring permits for their signs.

“My sign at the end of my driveway stands right next to a no fracking sign, which I have had up for close to three years, and I have never heard a peep about it.”

Town Supervisor Martin Ballowe said he would only agree to an interview for this report, with the town board’s lawyer present. Meanwhile, property owners who received summonses for their yard signs are due in town court on August 15.

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