‘This kind of behavior is tearing the town apart and has to stop’

An embattled Vernon Selectboard member resigns with some parting shots and some thanks to colleagues and constituents

VERNON — It is with deep regret that I resign from my position as a member of the Vernon Selectboard.

The current climate in which the board is forced to work has become very difficult. As a professional, I am used to working in situations where people treat one another with respect and dignity.

Although I have tremendous respect for the members with whom I have served and the job they have done for the town, I can no longer sit at a meeting and listen to a small group of people who have made it their mission to destroy hard-working people here.

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I was appalled at the meeting of April 6 to listen to the unfair accusations that were spewed out in a public forum against our delinquent-tax collector by elected officials.

These same officials felt it necessary to send out their own town annual report in which they made scandalous accusations against two people, one of whom has made it her life mission to serve this town.

It seems as though at every meeting there are more attacks on elected officials and non-elected employees of this town by a certain very small group because those employees don't agree with them.

Not only has this made it difficult for the Selectboard to do its business, but it has created a hostile work environment for all employees of our town.

It is inconceivable to me that elected officials would call Selectboard members liars, that a handful of people would heckle and yell out criticisms and belittle them at public meetings, and that they'd do the same to employees in the town office.

This kind of behavior is tearing the town apart and has to stop.

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Vernon is a wonderful town in which to live, and it is the 99.9 percent of its residents whom I work hard for. A lot of work is still needed, and I am committed to continue that work on the Planning Commission and the Tax Committee.

But I can't continue to subject myself to the viciousness of a few who seem to have a vendetta against the voters of this town for decisions that have been made, and the Selectboard for carrying out those decisions.

I am aware more than anyone else in this town how difficult the decisions we have had to make have been, and I wish with all my heart that Vermont Yankee didn't close and our neighbors and friends didn't lose their jobs there.

Unfortunately, this is the reality of the world we live in.

It has been an honor and privilege to have served this town for the last 20 years, and I am so proud to have served with the fine group of people that were on the Selectboard during this turmoil. It hasn't been easy for any of them.

I have every confidence that the present Selectboard will do a great job under the leadership of Chairwoman Chris Howe, and I thank her for her work as the vice chair for the last three years. Her dedication to this town has been an inspiration to us all; working so closely together our relationship has grown, and I am proud to call her my friend.

I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support that I have received from folks in Vernon. The cards, letters, phone calls, and visits have been truly amazing. I thank you for the honor of serving this community for the last 20 years.

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