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Schneck, Chapman, Gartenstein elected to Selectboard

Referendum on expanding board, change term lengths, is rejected

BRATTLEBORO—Three newcomers to the Selectboard claimed victory on Tuesday, while voters rejected two proposed changes to the town charter.

Kenneth Schneck, dean of students at Marlboro College, won the three-year seat vacated by Martha O’Connor. Schneck came away with 839 votes. His opponent, past Selectboard member and current chair of the Charter Commission, Spoon Agave, had 567.

Schneck, slightly sunburned from standing outside the polls all day, said that he was “really appreciative, more than anything.”

He said the “coolest” part of the day was waving to the people driving past the polling place and realizing he wouldn’t have met them if he hadn’t decided to run for office.

Schneck said he hopes to “diversify the Selectboard’s communication stream through other media.” In other words, he’ll use tools like Facebook or an e-newsletter to get information from the Selectboard into the hands of residents.

In a five-way race for two one-year seats, Christopher G. Chapman, with 694 votes, and David W. Gartenstein, with 609, will fill the respective slots vacated by Jesse Corum and Daryl Pillsbury.

Chapman works for the Trust Company of Vermont. He serves as the treasurer of the board for the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro and as vice president of the Brattleboro Walk-in Clinic.

Gartenstein, a deputy attorney in the Windham County State’s Attorneys Office, serves as a Brattleboro Union High School board member. He previously served on Brattleboro’s development review board and town school board.

Hilary Cooke was a close third with 527 votes, Joe Bushey received 403, Kathryn Turnas II had 245, and John Wilmerding received 200.

Cooke unsuccessfully ran for a state senate seat last November. 

“I’ve always said the town will be very well served by whoever is elected,” said a disappointed Cooke after the results were read. He added that he looks forward to serving the town in another capacity. He was elected a Town Meeting representative in District 3.

Charter change referendum defeated

Voters also weighed in on three referendum articles Tuesday.

By narrow margins, voters rejected expanding the Selectboard to seven members (779-656)  and changing the terms of service for the board (732-669).

The Charter Review Commission had suggested the town charter changes to the Selectboard during a Special Town Meeting. When Town Meeting Representatives voted down the two suggestions, Commission members Larry Bloch and Agave circulated a petition to bring the two articles to a town-wide vote.

Voters approved a question that instructed the Selectboard to sign an open letter of concern regarding the closing of Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, 1031-427.

The letter, circulated by the Safe & Green Campaign, stressed that Entergy and relevant federal and state agencies should take whatever measures necessary to ensure the safety of workers and the surrounding area during the time leading up to the scheduled 2012 shutdown and continuing during decommissioning.

According to Town Clerk Annette Cappy, 1,515 people, or 18 percent of the registered voters, cast ballots in Tuesday’s election. Cappy said this year’s voter percentage is more accurate than it was in previous years because the voter list had recently been purged.

Still, Cappy said that this election beat last year’s turnout of 1,462 voters.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #90 (Wednesday, March 2, 2011).

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