Municipal offices on March 3 ballot
Jan. 29, 2009
By Greg Elias
Williston residents will see a long list of candidates but find just one contest when they pick municipal and school representatives.
Monday was the deadline for filing petitions for public offices ranging from Selectboard to town constable that will be on the March ballot. A last-day filing by incumbent Ted Kenney produced the only race, for a two-year seat on the Selectboard. He will face off against Shelley Palmer, who has twice run unsuccessfully for the state Legislature.
Town Clerk Deb Beckett theorized that a lack of interest in local elected positions may be the result of weariness with politics after state and national elections in November.
“I think people in general are just tapped out,” she said. “It’s been a very long election cycle this past year.”
Kenney is seeking his third term. He was first elected to the Selectboard in 2005.
“I’m a municipal government junkie,” he said.
A lawyer with offices in South Burlington and St. Albans, Kenney is married and has two children. He has in the past served on the Williston School Board and run unsuccessfully for Chittenden County State’s Attorney and Vermont Senate.
Kenney said he is most interested in the relationship among municipal services, taxes and spending. He said his goal is to produce budgets that keep taxes affordable but maintain services.
Palmer is an equipment operator who previously worked for A.C. Paving, a division of Williston-based Engineers Construction. He is married and has three children.
He ran unsuccessfully for the Vermont House of Representatives in 2004 and 2008. Palmer said he hopes those bids for public office have increased his name recognition around Williston.
Palmer said he is concerned about municipal spending. Though the proposed 2009-10 budget keeps spending on par with last year, he thinks the town should be making substantial cuts amid the sour economy.
“We’ve seen consistent increases every year, but people’s pay hasn’t been going up,” he said.
Terry Macaig, chairman of the Selectboard, will seek re-election for a three-year term. He has served on the board for seven years.
Macaig was elected in November as one of Williston’s two representatives in the Vermont House.
He said he will have no problem juggling responsibilities among his two elected offices and his part-time employment with the Vermont State Employees Association.
“I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I could manage all those things,” he said.
Three School Board members — two from Williston and one from Champlain Valley Union High School — are running for re-election this year, all unopposed.
Williston School Board member Deb Baker-Moody is seeking a second three-year term. “I just really think we have great schools here in Williston and I want to keep that going,” she said.
Laura Gigliotti is running for another two-year term. “I find it rewarding and certainly feel I’m an asset to the board after what I’ve learned,” she said.
Both women said they want to help Williston schools through a potential reconfiguration in the coming years as well as rebuilding the district’s world
CVU School Board member Jonathan Milne is running for his second three-year term. Milne said because his family benefits from CVU education, he feels a responsibility to serve.
“Given the current economic environment, I hope to see the dedicated faculty and staff, diverse academic curriculum, well-maintained physical plant and strong sense of community at CVU sustained,” Milne wrote in an e-mail.
Two other elected offices have drawn newcomers but will not involve a contest because the incumbent is stepping down.
Marcy Kass has filed for a five-year term as library trustee. She will replace Stephen Mease, who is retiring after 10 years. Susan Williford is also seeking re-election as trustee.
Mease, who is director of news and public information at Champlain College, said he wanted more time to pursue other interests. He said Dorothy Alling Memorial Library is running efficiently and in good hands.
“This just seemed like a great time to step out and let someone else step in,” Mease said.
On the Board of Listers, which oversees property appraisals, Charles Coney will run for a three-year term. Coney, a retired accountant who has also sold real estate, ran unsuccessfully for the position last year.
This time he’ll face no competition, instead filling a position on the three-person board vacated by veteran lister Fred Webster.
The list of names on the ballot is shorter this year because of a town charter change that shifted some formerly elected positions to appointed posts. Members of the boards that oversee the town’s cemeteries, public funds and the Old Brick Church are now chosen by the Selectboard.
Reporter Tim Simard contributed to this article.
On the ballot
Here are the candidates running in the March 3 election:
Selectboard, three-year term
Selectboard, two-year term
Williston School Board, three-year term
Williston School Board, two-year term
Champlain Valley Union High School Board, three-year term
Library Trustee, five-year term
Lister, three-year term
Town Constable, one-year term