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Weaver takes another term as Town Service Officer

BRATTLEBORO—David Weaver has accepted another term as the Town Service Officer.

Weaver has served in the volunteer position for more than 10 years. He said that he applied for the position after calling the town to inquire into who held the job.

The Town Service Officer, a position guaranteed by Vermont statute, assists residents with emergency services like food, fuel, and shelter on evenings and weekends when the social welfare district office is closed.

Weaver said that most of his calls deal with loss of housing. He explained that people contact him through a toll-free number, and that he assesses the crisis using forms from the social welfare office. He asks questions such as why the people in need lost their housing, or whether there are kids involved.

Weaver said that there are hotels in town where, using vouchers, he can put people up temporarily.

Using similar vouchers, he can also provide people with food or emergency medical care, but he hasn’t needed to.

He is thankful because, according to the 1970-era forms he has to use, a family of four is only allotted $7 for food, Weaver said.

Last year, he said, he didn’t receive any calls. He credits the overflow shelter at the First Baptist Church on Main Street with giving people a place to stay. Before the overflow shelter opened, he used to average about 15 to 20 people a year calling for assistance.

On his reappointment at the March 15 Selectboard meeting, Town Manager Barbara Sondag described Weaver as being “shy.” Calls come in at all hours, and Weaver goes to help.

New Selectboard member Ken Schneck asked Weaver whether the Selectboard could do anything to support his work.

Weaver said that he appreciated the offer. Noting that the social welfare office in the state Department for Children and Families sets the guidelines and provides support for his role, ”I will give a holler if I ever need something,” said Weaver.

The Town Service Officer is appointed by the Vermont Department of Social Services and serves at the recommendation of the Selectboard. Weaver’s term ends on April 14, 2012.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #93 (Wednesday, March 23, 2011).

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