It appears if Ashland City Council members get their way, the city would shift from an elected to appointed city recorder. While the move is prompted by an impending vacancy, we suggest this process should be slowed down, to allow for a full discussion of pluses and minuses.
It may be convenient to put the idea to voters in a May special election, as incumbent Barbara Christensen is retiring at the end of this month. But convenience should take a back seat to the public good.
While it's rare to have an elected recorder — there are only three in Oregon — it keeps the person in that key role responsive to public interests. Given current concerns nationally over the handling of elections, which the city recorder oversees, that's an important factor.
There's certainly an argument to be made for the change — in addition to handling elections and recorder duties, Ashland's city recorder is the city's chief finance officer. That requires a broad set of skills that might not be readily apparent to the average voter.
But while councilors seem set on the change, we suspect the comments at a recent council session from resident Regina Ayars may ring true.
"There seems to be an assumption that people will want to change the charter," she said, "but I think there are a lot of people who will want (the recorder) to remain elected."
Even more reason the council should ensure its proposal is fully thought out before a vote.