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Vernon ratifies actions taken at Town Meeting

VERNON—Voters unanimously ratified actions taken at the March Town Meeting in a special meeting Monday night.

The April 20 “validation” vote is allowed under state statute to dot the i’s and cross the t’s when a mistake occurs with a Town Meeting warning.

According to a report sent out by Town Clerk Susan Miller, earlier this year, the Selectboard had missed the state’s deadline for approving and posting the meeting warning.

Will Senning, Director of Elections for the Secretary of State’s Office, said that “errors in the warning are fairly common.”

As a result, the Legislature has provided a way to rectify such mishaps with the meeting warning, he said.

In such cases, the town holds a special “validation meeting” to approve the actions taken by the Town and School Districts as described in the state statutes under 17 V.S.A., subsection 2662, said Senning.

The Vernon School Board held a similar meeting on April 13, to ratify the election of its delegate to the BUHS District #6 board.

The two boards have left over dots and crosses to sort out in the form of an unpaid bill of $1,160 in legal fees.

The school board discussed the bill at its regular meeting on April 20.

According to board members, because of a miscommunication, the School Board asked advice of legal counsel before proceeding with a special meeting to ratify school-related actions taken at Town Meeting. When the legal bill came in, the School Board kicked it over to the Selectboard for payment.

According to the Selectboard, the School Board’s meeting was redundant. Both boards could have held a joint meeting.

Selectboard vice-chair Michael Courtemanche said, except for miscommunication, the bill would not have existed because the School Board would not have needed to contact legal council. He described the fee as the “bill that wouldn’t have been.”

The Selectboard decided to contact the School Board and see if the boards could compromise and each pay half of the bill.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #302 (Wednesday, April 22, 2015). This story appeared on page C1.

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