County execs. ask Sievers to resign

by JOY CHEN | 4/22/10 10:00pm

by Jennifer Argote and Jennifer Argote / The Dartmouth

"I think primarily [the Executive Committee] was concerned about [Sievers'] attendance," Michael Cryans, a Grafton County commissioner, said in an interview with The Dartmouth.

Sievers, whose term as county treasurer is scheduled to end in January 2011, told The Dartmouth that she will not resign. She plans to contact the county commissioners and other county officials to ask them to change their decision, she said.

"I would hope that [the Executive Committee] would eventually change their minds, but whether they send the letter or not, I am not resigning," Sievers told The Dartmouth.

Because Sievers is an elected official, Monday's vote was non-binding and cannot compel her to resign, the AP reported.

Sievers said she believes her absences at meetings were due to a lack of communication between her and the county government. According to Sievers, she was never informed about Monday's meeting and only realized that she had missed it when she heard about calls for her resignation through local media.

"I think communication is a large problem," Sievers said. "I should not be hearing about things for the first time through the press."

Monday's meeting is the second meeting Sievers has missed, she said. The only other meeting she missed took place when she was out of the country, and she had informed the county officials of her absence in advance, Sievers said.

Sievers cited her two absences as the only possible reasons the Executive Committee might have to solicit her resignation.

Cryans said the county meetings are regularly scheduled and occur at a similar time every month, but Sievers said she has always received a notification e-mail prior to meetings, except for the meeting on Monday. Although there is a schedule of meetings online, scheduling is sometimes irregular and meeting times occasionally change, Sievers said.

"The schedules are for the commissioners and representatives," Sievers said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth. "I have always been alerted in the past up until now."

Sievers also said in the interview that her age may have factored into the calls for her resignation.

Sievers previously faced criticism from the county's executive director early in her term due to poor attendance at meetings.

At the time, Sievers told The Dartmouth that she relied heavily on e-mail to communicate, while the county officials were more prone to using telephones. She said that a lack of communication underlies criticisms leveled against her, both in 2009 and now.

"This would have gone a lot more smoothly if there has not been so much political tension," Sievers said. "Treasurers are not supposed to be political at all."

Sievers said she believes she has done an adequate job during her term.

"I think I've taken into consideration a lot more things and have done a lot [more] research than had been done before," Sievers said. "It's too bad that they are looking at [the absence issue] now and not considering other factors."

Cryans said although he cannot predict the outcome of the situation, he would like to see Sievers work through "the tough issue on her hands."

Staff writer Jennifer Liu contributed to the reporting of this article.