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Town and Village

Second temporary Selectboard member appointed

Vernon board names Stephen Skibnoiwsky to fill vacant seat

VERNON—The Selectboard announced its decision after three minutes in executive session.

While the board deliberated, a handful of audience members who had stuck it out for the over two-hour regular board meeting, waited. They asked each other: Susan Cobb or Stephen Skibnoiwsky?

The board made its formal vote to appoint Skibnoiwsky back in public session on April 20.

Skibnoiwsky fills the seat recently vacated by Jeff Dunklee after the April 13 meeting. The appointment will last until a special Town election.

A date for the special election has yet to be scheduled. Town officials anticipate late June.

At this stage — although June is still a couple of months away — voters will need to elect two new Selectboard members and a lister.

Dunklee’s sudden resignation came on the heels of fellow board member Patty O’Donnell’s equally sudden resignation the week prior.

Munson Hicks was appointed to fill O’Donnell’s seat until the special election.

Lister Phyllis Newton also announced her resignation on April 20, effective May 1.

After his swearing-in, Skibnoiwsky pledged to help the community navigate a “smooth and civil” course through its many transitions. He suspected many in Vernon held the same goal.

“I want to thank the board for their confidence in my temporary assignment,” he said.

In his public statement earlier in the meeting, Skibnoiwsky said that he had no interest in a permanent position on the board but wanted to help out until voters could elect a new board member.

Skibnoiwsky serves on a number of committees and boards including the Planning Commission, Connecticut River Joint Commission, and the Vermont Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel.

Susan Cobb also volunteered for Dunklee’s seat.

In her statement to the board and audience, Cobb said that while she does not want to run for the board, she wanted to help the town until the special election. Cobb also noted the high level of politics she has seen play out in town activities of late.

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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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