Will the Guilford Selectboard follow their own conflict-of-interest policy?

GUILFORD — The information reported on a discussion by the Guilford Selectboard in a Brattleboro Reformer article [“'Threatening,' anonymous letter discussed by Guilford Select Board,” Aug. 10] is relatively one-sided with some context and details left out. Did the Reformer reporter read the “anonymous letter”?

Here are a couple of important questions: If the State Police said the “anonymous letter” was not “threatening,” why is the Selectboard saying it is? Also, why is the Selectboard so focused on the letter's anonymity rather than what the letter says?

The Guilford Selectboard has called the letter “false information without sharing the contents or refuting specifics.” Why not just post “the letter” for everyone to read, so people can have their own opinions and assessments? Why is the Selectboard hiding the contents of the letter? What happened to the board's commitment to transparency?

The article also reported that the conflict-of- interest-questionnaire documents sought by Guilford resident Jason Herron don't exist in town records. Why are the required documents missing?

While the Guilford Selectboard admits to some irresponsibility, they deny any lack of compliance with Vermont's conflict-of-interest statute, Guilford's conflict-of-interest policy, or Vermont's public records retention laws.

If their statement is true and the documents do not exist, what will they do to resolve the situation? Couldn't the Selectboard Members just fill out the missing required questionnaires retroactively? That would provide for some of Mr. Herron's record request and rightfully place a portion of the missing documents in Guilford's Town Records where they belong.

For instance, two of the Selectboard members, Richard Wizansky and Verandah Porche, have served on the board for all five years for which the questionnaires are being sought (2018–2022). They both helped draft and then sign into existence the Guilford conflict-of-interest policy, which requires the questionnaires to be filled out annually. Richard was the Selectboard member who made the motion to accept the document as town policy.

Instead of Richard and Verandah simply providing their missing questionnaires, the Selectboard has hired an attorney at Guilford taxpayers' expense. Several thousand dollars has been spent on legal fees as of mid-August with ongoing accruing legal costs.

The Selectboard has not offered an admission of wrong, an apology, a resolution, or a remedy for their shortcomings and mistakes. How long will the board continue to spend taxpayer monies on the needless costs of lawyers to defend their actions in this matter?

The board is aware of Richard Wizansky's ongoing conflict of interest, as are some members of the Guilford community. That fact needs to be acknowledged and resolved regardless of what the court determines on the specifics of Mr. Herron's appeal.

These simple questions remain: Will the Guilford Selectboard members make the simple choices necessary to remedy this costly court appeal situation? Also, will they choose to acknowledge and follow their own directives and enforcement procedures laid out in the Town of Guilford conflict-of-interest policy?

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