July 23, 2019

Sports shorts


Champlain Valley Union’s Max Hopper (right) battles a player from Lower Canada College during the Redhawks’ 3-1 loss on Dec. 16. (Courtesy photo by David Yandell)

After dropping their first game of the season, 3-1, Friday (Dec. 16) at Lower Canada College in their annual trip north, the Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey Redhawks (3-1) returned to Vermont competition Wednesday night (after Observer press deadline) when they hosted Middlebury at Cairns Arena.

The game schedule over the holidays is limited to this coming Wednesday (Dec. 28) when the ‘Hawks entertain Rice Memorial at Cairns (7:15 p.m.) and travel to Barre to face Spaulding on Jan. 4.

Coach Mike Murray’s Redhawks are 3-0 in Vermont, with their most recent triumph a 4-1 clocking of Rutland last Wednesday (Dec. 14) in Rutland.

Max Hopper, Patrick Pattison, Pat Keelan and Jeremy Lerner potted the goals. Netminder Jason O’Brien had 12 stops as CVU held an overwhelming 39-13 advantage in shots on goal.


Winless in three games this season, the Champlain Valley Union High girls hockey team was pursuing that elusive first victory in Northfield Wednesday night (after Observer press deadline) against the 1-1 Northfield Marauders.

The Redhawks return home to Cairns Arena this coming Wednesday (Dec. 28) when they will try to even the season series with Rutland. The Red Raiders nipped the ‘Hawks 4-3 in Rutland Saturday (Dec. 17).

The game went back and forth until the Raiders scored the winning goal with just one minute and eight seconds remaining in regulation time.

Molly Dunphy had two goals for CVU and Rowan Hayes potted a singleton. Goalie Nicole Sisk kicked out 20 Rutland shots.

On. Jan. 4, CVU will hit the road to Highgate and face Missisquoi Valley Union.


After a strong showing at South Burlington’s class-by-class competition Saturday (Dec. 17), the Champlain Valley Union gymnastics team was in Milton Wednesday (after Observer press deadline) for a session with the Yellow Jackets.

The schedule of weekly events will bring the Redhawks home on Dec. 29 to meet Harwood and the following Wednesday (Jan. 4) when St. Johnsbury Academy comes calling.

At South Burlington, CVU gymnasts won 2 of 4 all-around titles. Megan Nick was the sophomore victor with triumphs on the vault and in floor exercise, plus a third on the balance beam. Sarah Kinsley captured the all-around crown for the junior class following firsts on the bars and beam. Senior Ashley Bachand, recovering from Achilles tendon surgery, took first on the bars and beam. Sarah Gerry tied for first among juniors on the vault and Grace Carey finished third on the bars. Madison Tieso was third in the freshmen vault.


CVU’s Clark Poston won two matches in the 182-pound division on Dec. 14. (Courtesy photo by Jennifer Olson)

Hoping to milk some victories, the Champlain Valley Union wrestling team was in one dairy county this week, and will visit another next week.

The Redhawks travelled to dairy-rich Franklin County Tuesday and defeated Enosburg 66-3.

On Wednesday (Dec. 28), coach Rahn Fleming and his grapplers will be in equally dairy-prominent Addison County for the first of the two-day annual Middlebury Union High Invitational.

Last Wednesday (Dec. 14), at their home mat, the Redhawks split with two visiting teams — defeating Vergennes 63-15 and being nudged, 42-38 by Mount Mansfield.

CVU’s double winners were Patrick Shea (145 pounds), Connor Brown (152), Sam Fortin (170) and Clark Poston (182).

—Mal Boright


Ailing ‘Hawks start girls hoops season on right foot

CVU 2-0 after defeating Spaulding in tourney

Dec. 22, 2011

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent


The Champlain Valley Union girls basketball team made it two wins in two starts for 2011-12 with a 44-39 victory over host Spaulding Tuesday in the Barre Auditorium Tournament.

Center Remi Donnelly paced the Redhawks with 11 points and seven rebounds.

CVU returns to Barre Thursday to take on Colchester, which fell to St. Johnsbury Tuesday, 30-28.

As opening nights go, for the new edition of the CVU Redhawks, last Thursday (Dec. 15) was not bad.

The Redhawks took command in the second half to produce a 33-21 win over visiting South Burlington for new head coach Ute Otley, up from last season’s junior varsity squad.

“We did a good job with our defense,” she said after the triumph.

A variety of defenses including presses and traps limited the Rebels to 21 percent (8-for-37) shooting.

On Otley’s mind was the absence of veteran inside players, seniors Lazrin Schenck and Caroline Limanek — vital contributors in last season’s appearance in the Division I championship game. She said she hopes to have both back in January. Schenck has a foot injury while an ailing shoulder sidelines Limanek.

“Without them we have some players out of position,” the coach said.

Thursday’s first half was typical of opening nights with shooting woes, turnovers, physical contact and determined play. CVU held the Rebels to one hoop in the first quarter but led only 6-5 at the buzzer. Sophomore Kaelyn Kohlasch had three cord snappers while her mates went 0-for-7.

South Burlington held CVU to one hit in seven tries in the second quarter, due in part to seven Redhawk turnovers. The Rebs got three baskets in 10 tries and grabbed a 13-10 lead by intermission.

The second half was roundball redemption for the Redhawks as they outscored the visitors 23-8 and out rebounded them 21-8 to put away the contest.

Donnelly got to the wicket for nine of her 10 points. Elena Bayer-Pacht, though scoreless from the floor, turned in four rebounds, two assists, a steal and solid ball handling over the closing 10 minutes.

Kohlasch led the CVU scorers with 12 points to go with five rebounds and a pair of steals. Emily Kinneston had seven rebounds, five points and some assists.






CVU 33, South Burlington 21


South Burlington (0-1)

Simoneau, 0 3-4 3; Flynn, 1 0-0 2; Manazir, 0 0-0 0; Moody, 0 0-0 0; A. Flaherty, 3 0-0 6; Chappell, 0 0-0 0; S. Flaherty, 3 0-0 6; Gloyd, 0 0-2 0; Messer, 0 0-0 0; Barton, 1 2-2 4, Shiman, 0 0-0 0; Barrett, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 8 5-8 21


CVU (1-0)

Lozon, 0 0-0 0; Bayer-Pacht, 0 2-7 2; Donnelly, 3 4-6 10; Kohlasch, 5 2-3 12; Kinneston, 2 1-2 5; Beatty, 0 0-2 0; Grasso, 0 0-0 0; Whiteside, 0 0-0 0, Krupp, 1 0-0 2; Leach, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 11* 9-20 33

* South Burlington made CVU basket

SB        5   8   2   6  –  21

CVU          6   4   9  14 –  33

CVU boys basketball tops Burlington

Redhawks face BFA Friday

Dec. 22, 2011

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent


In high school basketball, there is little time to rejoice in a victory.

Just after his Redhawks put away visiting Burlington 53-45, at Bremner Gymnasium Tuesday night, Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball coach Scott Bliss was thinking about coming attractions.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said of Friday’s trip to St. Albans and Bellows Free Academy.

CVU returns home this Tuesday to tangle with South Burlington, which is off to an 0-3 start.

Then, on Friday (Dec. 30), the Mount Mansfield Union Cougars invade the ‘Hawks Hinesburg nest. At 3-0, the veteran Mount Mansfield team may very well be the elephant in this season’s Division I room.

The victory over Burlington had plenty of significance for Bliss, starting his fifth campaign at the Redhawks helm.

It was CVU’s first win over the Seahorses in at least five seasons and, according to the coach, his 50th triumph at the varsity post.

The Redhawks used accuracy at the free throw line in the closing minutes to put away Burlington, which sank eight three-pointers to stay with the ‘Hawks until late in the final reel.

With his team leading by a shaky 43-40 with just over one minute and 50 seconds left, junior Brad Bissonette unerringly nailed six straight pressure free throws while Tucker Kohlasch and John Keen each sank a pair to keep CVU in the van.

Bissonette and Joe Chevalier led a vital 11-8 fourth period edge on the boards, which were also crucial to the victory. Chevalier unloaded a big trey plus a deuce hoop early in the closing stanza to boost the Redhawks into the lead.

Bliss was pleased with his team’s work down the stretch, noting that the Redhawks had trouble holding onto late leads in two earlier contests — a home win over Missisquoi Valley Union and a narrow defeat at Vergennes.

Bissonette had a solid all around performance that included a game-high 22 points. The slim junior was 9-for-10 at the line. He tore down seven rebounds, added at least one assist blocked two shots.

Keen, wearing a noseguard to protect a recently broken nose, contributed a nifty six points, five rebounds and an assist. Inside musclemen Ryan Beaudry and Lucas Aube each got four points, with Beaudry grabbing seven rebounds and Aube six.

Scott Bissonette had the shot of the night when he picked up a contested loose ball just over mid court and unleashed a long bomb that banked off the glass and into the basket as the horn sounded at halftime. The shot gave the Hawks a 20-17 lead.

Burlington was paced by lanky center Sean Radan with 17 points and seven rebounds. Sniper Alex Carrier had 12 points and Ho Nguyan added 10 points.




CVU 53, Burlington 45

Burlington (0-2)

Grady, 2 0-0 4; Carrier, 4 0-2 12; Radan, 5 5-7 17; Nguyen, 2 4-9 10; Rodgers, 0 0-0 0; Boera, 0 0-0 0; Montgomery, 0 0-0 0; Hale, 1 0-0 2; Wright, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 14 9-18 45


CVU (2-1)

B. Bissonette, 6 9-10 22; Keen, 2 2-2 6; Beaudry, 2 0-2 4; Whitbeck, 0 0-0 0; Kohlasch, 0 7-8 7; Aube, 2 0-2 4; Gilstedt, 0 0-0 0; Chevalier, 3 0-0 7; S. Bissonette, 1 0-0 3; Lynn, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 16 18-24 53


BHS           9   8  16  12  –  45

CVU         12   8  16  17  –  53

‘Justifying your thinking’

WCS hosts ‘Bring Your Parent to Math Class Day’

Dec. 22, 2011

By Steven Frank

Observer staff


Williston Central School math teacher Jared Bailey facilitates a conversation about geometric shapes with his fifth grade class on ‘Bring Your Parent to Math Class Day,’ held Dec. 15. Several parents sat in on Bailey’s class and approximately 80 attended overall. The day was designed to enlighten parents of fifth- to eighth-graders on a new style of mathematics instruction in Williston schools called ‘Best Practices in Teaching Mathematics,’ which focuses more on discussions about mathematical concepts instead of procedures. (Observer photo by Steven Frank)

To provide a solution for parents not educated on how mathematics is now taught to fifth to eighth grade students at Williston Central School, second-year district math coordinator Caitlin Bianchi developed a formula: invite mothers and fathers to attend their children’s classes so they can see the instruction first hand.

Approximately 80 parents factored into the equation on Dec. 15 when WCS hosted its first “Bring Your Parent to Math Class Day.”

“We were talking as a middle school faculty about how to better inform parents about math, and what math looks like now compared to when they were kids,” said Bianchi, who began teaching in 1993.

The new WCS curriculum, called “Best Practices in Teaching Mathematics,” promotes discussions about mathematical concepts in small and large groups, and encourages students to explain their mathematical thinking.

“In the past, there was a procedure that you did without necessarily understanding the concepts behind that. Now math is a lot more conceptually based,” Bianchi said. “The other thing is there is a lot more focus on discourse between students. It’s not just the teacher telling the kids what to do. There is more collaboration and focus on justifying your thinking.”

Technology is another factor in today’s math classrooms. Gone are the days of blackboards and chalks. Several of WCS’s math classrooms feature SMART Boards, an interactive computerized whiteboard that allows teachers to record images and easily resume from where they left off the previous day.

“Unlike just having a projector, you can move stuff around and bring in all kinds of graphics,” Bianchi said.

Julie Longchamp has been a teacher for 29 years — when students in Williston and throughout the country were taught a different style of math — but has embraced the new model. She was also pleased with how “Bring Your Parent to Math Class Day” worked out.

“We learned formulas and students now derive them, so they internalize,” she said. “(Parents) saw that today. It’s exciting.”

Karen Cutler enjoyed the opportunity to attend her son’s class and described the difference in math instruction from the time she was a student as “night and day.”

“It was great,” said Cutler, whose son’s class was working on the angle sum of a polygon using two different approaches. “The students were having fun. They were learning and they taught me so much.”

Jason Hibbeler, whose son, Peter, is in eighth grade, believes the day could help parents help their children.

“I think it can only benefit the parent and the student. When you’re not in the classroom, you don’t get the full picture,” he said.

One parent who wished to remain anonymous, however, walked away with a negative experience.

“I call it worst practices,” she said, “because there is no real instruction. It’s all questions with the same kids participating… They keep changing the math program and it’s not fair. They are using the kids as guinea pigs.”

Bianchi, who said the feedback she received was positive, added that there would likely be another “Bring Your Parent to Math Class Day” later this winter or early spring — this time for parents of children between kindergarten and fourth grade.

She called it a “pilot” program and wasn’t sure if there would be similar events for other school subjects.

“From what I hear, I think parents would like (to attend other classes),” Bianchi said. This is new to us this year and I think math is something parents seem to be concerned about as much or more than other subject areas because it is taught so differently now.”

Extended school day proposal gains traction

Connecting Youth Mentoring program also supported

Dec. 22, 2011

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff


An extended school day for a select group of Williston Central School students in grades 3-8 is being considered by the School Board. (File photo)

Williston District Principal Walter Nardelli opened the Dec. 15 School Board meeting with a pop quiz.

“What makes a difference for kids?” Nardelli asked.

The question was rhetorical, but Nardelli’s subsequent presentation about fiscal year 2013 decision packets provided 16 potential answers, from which board members and budget buddies could vote for up to six they supported.

“The review process includes parents, teachers, administration, the School Board and budget buddies,” Nardelli explained. “The budget buddies and the School Board are the last ones to review (the decision packets). Everybody else has already given us their information.”

The results of the voting — which will be used as a tool as the Board works to finalize the budget — were released Dec. 21.

Of the 16 decisions packets, three were listed as preferences by each category of voter: retaining a math coordinator position, continuing to fund the Connected Youth Mentoring program and exploring an extended school day program.

Notably absent from any of the lists was a proposal to introduce a world language program beginning in kindergarten.

The Chittenden South Supervisory Union Board previously voted to remove funding for a math coordinator position from its budget. It will be up to the Williston School Board to decide if it wants to retain the position and add it as a budgetary line item at the town level — at an approximate annual cost of $56,194.

“I think if you look at the responsibilities of the math coordinator, (for) our whole Bridges (in Mathematics) implementation, all of the training has been organized by a math coordinator,” said Nardelli. “The other idea is that we will train our math coordinators to also be coaches (to math teachers) in the future.”

CY Mentoring is a program that facilitates one-on-one mentoring services between community volunteers and students in grades 5-8. Due to grant funding cuts, keeping the program would call for approximately $22,500 to be added to budget expenses.

The extended day program would lengthen the school day from the current departure time of 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for a total of between 120 and 150 students per year in grades 3-8, and would be divided into three parts: need-based instruction, homework assistance and a student-directed enrichment component.

“Learning’s the constant; time’s the variable,” Nardelli said. “Who ever said that a six-and-a-half-hour day is exactly the correct amount of time that every learner needs?”

Board member Kevin Mara expressed interest in the extended day concept, but said it needs to be weighed against the cost.

“To me, this is one of the best things I’ve seen come forward tonight, but it’s at a very great expense,” said Mara.

Although the costs of the decision packets are preliminary and are subject to change, the extended day program is penciled in at $75,770.

Nardelli said the administration is looking into ways to potentially reduce the expense of the program.

“The other thing we’re examining is can we slide (teachers’) schedules? If we slide a schedule, then it’s no extra expense,” Nardelli said. “It simply means that their day starts later and it gets out later, but it’s the exact same length of time as the other teachers.”

Board member Josh Diamond suggested that exploring an extended school day with a small number of students could open the door for further expansion of the idea in the future.

“If we can elongate our day a little bit (and) if we can get concessions from the teachers in the next round of negotiations (between the teachers union and CSSU), we could offer a superior product to our kids,” Diamond said.

A Stern switch

Stern Center moves to former Seven Gables locale effective Jan. 2

Dec. 22, 2011

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff


The Stern Center for Language and Learning will be closed Dec. 26-30 while it moves into its new location at 183 Talcott Road (above). It will reopen Jan. 2. (Photo courtesy of Sandy Rendall)

For an organization that opens the minds of people with learning disabilities, the Stern Center was decidedly closed-minded when it came to choosing a new location for its headquarters.

“In the two years where we were looking for new space, we did not look outside of Williston,” said John Connell, chief operating officer of the Stern Center for Language and Learning.

As a result, The Stern Center, a nonprofit learning and literacy center founded in 1983, isn’t moving far. Its change in location measures roughly 800 feet as the crow flies, from 135 Allen Brook Lane to 183 Talcott Road — the site of the former Seven Gables building.

Stern Center President Blanche Podhajski said she previously moved her growing organization from Winooski to Williston in 1994 because of its proximity to Interstate 89, but remarked that the area has increased in desirability since then.

“We chose Williston very deliberately, because this was central and yet still for the people from the south offered easy access,” Podhajski said. “As everything (in Williston) has mushroomed, it also gives our families nice places to go while they wait. Children are here sometimes for an entire day, and people come from New York and come from quite a distance, so they can take their other children and go off and do other things in the community.”

As Williston has grown, so too has the Stern Center. In 1998, it began leasing the building across the parking lot, which eventually became the home of the Cynthia K. Hoehl Institute for Excellence (a demonstration site for professional learning).

The namesake of Hoehl, a Stern Center board member, is again being invoked as part of the current move. What was once called the Seven Gables building will now be known as the Cynthia K. Hoehl Building — a gesture of appreciation toward the Hoehl Family Foundation, whose $1 million donation made the relocation possible.

“It’s extraordinary to have people who are so philanthropic,” Podhajski said of the Hoehl family. “It’s amazing.”

Podhajski noted that consolidating the Stern Center’s operations in one building will result in substantial cost savings.

“Between the revenue we’ll be generating from some tenants (Associates at the Gables psychotherapists) who will still be in the building and the savings on this leased space, it saves $100,000 a year,” Podhajski said, “and having us all under one roof is lovely, especially for the people that trek over in the midst of inclement weather.”

The new facility will also have enhanced video conferencing capabilities, allowing for closer collaboration with the Stern Center’s secondary White River Junction location and clients around the region.

“The video conferencing capability is terrific,” said Podhajski. “It’s important as a cost savings measure, because we have to travel otherwise quite a distance to do some of our in-service programs.”

The Stern Center will be closed Dec. 26-30 while it relocates. It will reopen Jan. 2.

Rice Memorial 1st quarter honor roll

Dec. 22, 2011



The following Rice Memorial High School students from Williston have been placed on the school’s first-quarter honor roll:



First Honors

Michelle Bolger

Ellen Boucher

Emily Boucher

Madeline Limanek

Timothy Rensch

Ellen Sartorelli


Second Honors

Christine Akiki

Tomilayo Akinpetide

Timothy Bolger

Emma Chicoine

Victoria DeLuca

Hannah Durkee

Thomas Fitzgerald

Ezekiel Geffken

Anna Krause

Gabrielle Krause

Laura Ospina

Elizabeth Sartorelli

Kelly St. Marie

William Weaver


Dec. 22, 2011



Aaron Demers passed away suddenly on Dec. 14 at the young age of 26. Aaron was born on June 1, 1985, in Burlington. He was the son of Raymond and Sue (Ste. Marie) Demers of Williston. Aaron graduated from Champlain Valley High School, and went on to attend Radford University in Virginia and Champlain College. Aaron’s major was in media. He wrote, produced and hosted his own Facebook show, “Hollywood Talk,” which was watched and loved by many! His dream was to have a career in media and communications. As a child, Aaron was involved in the Boy Scouts, town league basketball and soccer. He enjoyed the outdoors, swimming, skiing, and spending time with his friends, family and his pets. Aaron also enjoyed his trips to Florida, where he spent lots of time in the sun with his Ste. Marie grandparents in their New Smyrna Beach condo. Aaron is survived by his parents, Raymond and Sue Demers; Memere, Norma Ste. Marie; Ste. Marie uncles and aunts, Dennis and Pam, Peter and Cathi, Greg and Julie, and James, Cathy and Donald Leblanc, Brain and Christine Taylor; and 17 cousins. Demers uncles and aunts, Dennis and Lorie, Michael and Diane, Roger and Jody, Paul and Sue, Gordon and Giselle Chamberlain, Howard and Claire Hill; and 15 cousins. Aaron was predeceased by his Pepere, Paul Ste. Marie; paternal grandparents, George and Bernadette Demers; and his cousin, Marie Michaud. Aaron touched so many peoples’ lives with his handsome face and friendly smile. He will be missed dearly by all. Visiting hours were held on Sunday, Dec. 18, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the LaVigne Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 132 Main St., Winooski. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, Dec. 19, 11 a.m., at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Williston. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Humane Society of Chittenden County, 142 Kindness Court, South Burlington, Vt. 05403.

Letters to the Editor

Dec. 22, 2011


Spirit of giving (back)

In the spirit of Christmas I would love to share a story. Last night (Dec. 14), when I was at The Edge in Williston, I realized my very special diamond bracelet had fallen off my wrist. I completely panicked and retraced my steps. I called the Old Navy in Williston, where I was that day. I asked the manager if anyone turned in a diamond bracelet. He chuckled and said, “I will look.” He then came back and said, in a very surprised voice, “they did!”

Needless to say I was over-joyed, crying and so grateful! I would love to thank the amazingly honest and kind person who found my bracelet and turned it in. I just want you to know how much it means to me and you are very special!

Merry Christmas! Thank you so much.

Heidi Snipes



Police handled ‘assault’ poorly

My son, Max Palmer, has been working as a mascot for a year. He called me and said he needed to talk to me about what happened at work today (Dec. 18). Max owns a successful business named “Max’s Mascott’s” and was working at Taft Corners for Ramunto’s (Brick Oven Pizza) as its red mascot, Mungo.

At about 1p.m., a male subject assaulted Max by coming up behind him and kicking him really hard in the rear end. The costume Max was wearing affords very limited visibility, but Max did see the assailant then run, get into a car and speed off with another male.

One person who saw it called Williston Police, followed the vehicle, called in a description of the events and reported the license plate number. The police interviewed Max and then found the assailant.

The police officer returned after he spoke with the assailant and decided that he would have the fellow who assaulted Max write a letter telling that he was sorry. Say what? Max Palmer is just 16 years old and a junior at Champlain Valley Union High School. Is it policy to not involve the parents of juveniles when they are the victims of crimes (I wasn’t notified about this incident by anyone but Max)? Is the police officer involved not inquisitive enough to figure out the victim is just a kid? The officer never asked Max to take off the Mungo costume, so he really can’t identify the victim. Is it OK to kick Max (or anybody else) at work in Williston and have no punishment other than having to write a note saying you’re sorry?

Shelley Palmer


Guest column

Embezzlement becomes epidemic

Dec. 22, 2011

By State Rep. Don Turner


Embezzlement appears to have become an epidemic here in Vermont. Over the last several years there have been numerous cases of embezzlement reported. Many of these cases involve long-term, trusted employees who have earned the respect of their peers, managers and supervisors. When the embezzler is finally exposed or caught, no one can believe that the person is capable of committing the crime. Both the people they serve and those they have served under can’t believe that this thievery occurred right in front of their eyes.

I believe that a dialogue must begin this session to create a thoughtful, inclusive and systematic approach to deterring this behavior.

First and foremost, I believe that the legislature should consult with the auditor, attorney general, FBI and others who have been deeply involved in this issue before creating any new laws or policies. Educating and promoting the tremendous value of internal agency controls as a system of prevention is vital; when action is of utmost importance. I believe that the creation of new laws or policies without the presence of adequate internal agency controls will not produce the desired results and is not the best use of the legislature’s time and effort. My suggestion for agencies would be to enhance and utilize their existing system of checks and balances while adding more stringent reporting requirements. These efforts alone may indeed be enough to deter this type of behavior in some cases and would surely improve accountability of taxpayers’ money.

For those who are not deterred by enhanced internal control systems, I feel that we must pass the legislation offered by the auditor (Thomas M. Salmon). His red flag checklist and fraud training proposals extend the auditor’s discretionary authority to expect those with certain fiduciary and oversight duty to sign off (certify) that they have reviewed the controls over cash. It would also require everyone in these types of positions to take a three-hour fraud prevention training program. This authority would be expressed through the creation of legislation. The legislation would also create a reporting requirement: Any entity that receives state funds or utilizes federal funds via a pass thru arrangement would be required to report to the state on these matters. Gone would be the days of these agencies using taxpayer dollars without oversight or reporting requirements. Enhanced accountability standards will likely lead to improved transparency.

Another area that I feel needs to be thoroughly examined is the process for hiring the position of city or town treasurer. Many municipalities still elect a citizen from their community to this position. This has worked for decades and many would say that it still works fine today. However, I believe that municipal finance has become far too complex for the average individual to comprehend and manage effectively. The people in these positions are responsible for handling our tax dollars on a daily basis. I feel that they should be adequately educated, proficient and able to explain where every tax dollar was spent. Further, I feel that we have to seriously look at changing the manner in which these important positions are filled while protecting the integrity of our constitution. As a result, I suggest that in the future these positions be filled through the employment process and not the election process. This change would enhance the integrity of the position and surely lead to more accountability and transparency for the taxpayer.

In closing, I would be remiss if I did not reiterate the importance of oversight, checks and balances, and accountability in the use of taxpayer funds to operate all levels of government. It is your government; it owes you a clear explanation of how and where your tax dollars are being spent. Demand a clear and easy to understand explanation and please never be intimidated or afraid to ask questions.


Don Turner represents Chittenden-9 (Milton). He is the minority leader for the commerce and economic development committee.