Selectboard to begin process of replacing Schneck

BRATTLEBORO — Ken Schneck is stepping down from the Selectboard effective June 19. Are you interested in finishing his term?

The board last week voted to open the candidate search to fill the newly vacant three-year seat. Candidates should deliver a letter of interest to Town Manager Barbara Sondag's office by June 13 at 5 p.m. Letters received later will not be considered.

Candidate interviews begin June 20 at 5 p.m., and it is anticipated the board will appoint the new member at a special Selectboard meeting following the interviews. The interviews and special meeting are open to the public.

As of June 10, the town manager's office had received two letters of interest, officials said.

Schneck announced shortly after the March election that he would leave the board after serving two years - as well as his post as dean of students at Marlboro College - to take a position at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Schneck's replacement will be expected to serve on the Selectboard for the remainder of his term, which ends March 24, 2014.

According to a press release from Sondag's office, the process for selecting a new Selectboard member is governed by Brattleboro's Town Charter and the Selectboard's “Rules For Conduct Of Meetings And Hearings.”

“When a member of the Selectboard resigns, the office shall become vacant,” states Article IV, Section 4, of the Charter. “When a vacancy occurs on the board, the remaining Selectboard [members] shall fill the vacancy by appointment until the next regularly scheduled election.”

Section F of the Selectboard's “Rules for Conduct of Meetings and Hearings” also states, “When a vacancy occurs on a town board, the Selectboard shall forthwith fill such vacancy by appointment.”

The rules also state, “The vacancy shall be publicly announced at the Selectboard's meeting immediately following the initial occurrence of the vacancy. The candidates shall submit a letter of interest to the Town Manager's Office by the deadline established by the Selectboard.”

In a press release, Selectboard Chair David Gartenstein outlined the process and priorities of filling the vacancy:

“The process for appointing a new Selectboard member in response to Ken Schneck's resignation should ensure that candidates have a full opportunity to express interest in the position. The process also should give Brattleboro residents a full opportunity to comment on the candidates and participate in the selection process,” Gartenstein wrote.

According to Town Attorney Robert Fisher, under the charter the board cannot appoint a replacement until June 19, when Schneck's resignation takes effect.

Fisher has also advised that, under the board's rules of conduct, a procedure for filling the open seat cannot start until after the resignation is official.

Gartenstein said that he would seek a process that appoints and swears in the new board member quickly. and maintains the greatest level of continuity for the board.

Gartenstein moved to suspend the board's rules during the June 4 Selectboard meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

During the regular board meeting, Gartenstein said he wanted to suspend the rules to avoid the two- to three-week delay caused by waiting until Schneck's resignation became official.

Schneck will be associate professor and director of Baldwin Wallace University's Leadership in Higher Education Program. He received the job offer the day after the March election, he said.

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