Guilford Selectboard addresses removal of Planning Commission, apologizes for the manner of dismissal

GUILFORD — We, members of the Guilford Selectboard, wish to take this opportunity to speak directly to our community.

In late October, the Selectboard made the very difficult decision to unseat Guilford's entire Planning Commission. A unanimous vote is required by state statute. This difficult decision, while legally permissible, was made with care and due consideration.

We recognize that the decision has produced pain and disbelief in parts of the community. We also acknowledge that it has met with relief and understanding in other parts of the community.

At its Oct. 25 meeting, the Selectboard publicly stated reasons for this action. At a subsequent public meeting, the reasons were stated again.

We understand that not all community members agree with this decision. Since that time, we have listened to many voices, some expressing dismay and disappointment, some expressing gratitude and support.

In an attempt at clarity, the Selectboard offers two points related to the decision.

First, Vermont statute requires that, whenever personnel issues are to be discussed, a public body must go into executive session. This is to protect individual citizens from public scrutiny.

Despite what some might claim, the Selectboard did not go into executive session in an attempt to hide discussion or decision-making from the public. The truth is that no Selectboard is allowed to place individual citizens on display. Once the Selectboard came out of executive session, reasons for the action were stated.

Secondly, the Selectboard acknowledges that the manner by which the members of the Planning Commission were released was hurtful and did not offer recognition of the time and work donated to the Guilford community.

We are sorry for the pain this has caused.

We are elected volunteers who, in many instances and, like Selectboards all across Vermont, learn as we go. We have learned a lot in this process and can say with increasing confidence that future communications will more readily represent the respect and care we all value here in Guilford.

We thank the dedicated volunteers who served on the Planning Commission, and we are grateful for their commitments of time and energy.

As we move forward, we encourage community involvement. We need active, engaged volunteers to preserve the well-being of our community.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates