Clear path to reelection? (1/14/10)

No challengers yet for local boards

Jan. 14, 2010

By Greg Elias

and Tim Simard

Observer staff

Most incumbents plan to seek re-election, but with the filing deadline fast approaching not a single contested race has emerged for local offices on the March ballot.

Terms are expiring for members of the Williston Selectboard, the Williston School Board and the Champlain Valley Union School Board. Also facing reelection are one lister, a Dorothy Alling Memorial Library trustee and the town constable.

Selectboard members Jeff Fehrs and Chris Roy said they will try for another term.

Fehrs, on the board since 1998, said he still enjoys serving the town.

“I’ll do it until it becomes a chore or I feel like I’m no longer participating in a way that is effective,” he said.

Roy, also a candidate for Vermont Secretary of State, will seek a second term on the Selectboard.

If elected to the statewide post in November, Roy said he would hold on to the board seat. But he acknowledged that he might eventually have to reconsider if the secretary of state post keeps him from fulfilling his Selectboard duties.

Two members of the Williston School Board whose terms are expiring say they will run again this year.

Holly Rouelle, the board’s vice chairwoman, will seek a third two-year term. She collected signatures on a petition at the Jan. 7 School Board meeting.

Keith Roy said he would run for a second three-year term on the Williston School Board.

Roy and Rouelle serve on the Chittenden South Supervisory Union Board of Directors, and Roy is also on the teacher contract negotiating team.

One of Williston’s four representatives on the Champlain Valley Union High School Board plans on returning and one will retire.

Board Chairwoman Jeanne Jensen said last week she will run for a third three-year term. She is also on the CSSU board.

Meg Hart-Smith said she will step down. She has been on the CVU School Board for six years, completing two terms. Before that, Hart-Smith was a Williston School Board member for two years.

“I kind of feel I’ve done my thing,” Hart-Smith said. “It’s time for someone with more day-to-day contact with the school to step in, I think.”

Both of her children have graduated from CVU.

Also stepping down is Ann Hazelrigg, a trustee for Dorothy Alling Memorial Library for 21 years. A plant pathologist at the University of Vermont Extension, Hazelrigg plans to pursue a doctorate.

“It’s still a huge love of mine, that library, any library,” she said.

But she added that it was time for her to concentrate on her academic work and give someone else a chance to serve as one of the library’s seven trustees.

Jerry Huetz said he will seek a third three-year term as lister. The three-member Board of Listers oversees property appraisals and hears appeals on valuations.

Finally, Kermit LaClair’s one-year term as town constable expires in March. LaClair, who has held the position for numerous years, could not immediately be reached for comment.

As of Monday, no opposing candidate had filed to run for any of the positions to be listed on the March 2 ballot.

Though a competitive race may still emerge, uncontested elections have become common in recent years. Most local elections over the past decade have featured at most one or two races; in some years there have been no contests.

The deadline for filing petitions for local offices is Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. Candidates must submit a consent form and a petition signed by 30 residents to the town clerk’s office to be placed on the ballot.