August 17, 2018

Meet Mike Moran, Williston’s new constable

Observer photo by Jason Starr
Mike Moran was sworn in last week as Williston town constable.

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

Mike Moran began looking for ways to volunteer his time to the Town of Williston this spring at the same time the town was searching for a new constable.

Typically an elected position, the job was vacant because no one ran for it in March’s Town Meeting Day election. The job description loosely follows state statutes, but Moran was largely in the dark about what town officials expect from Williston’s constable. On the cusp of transitioning into retirement from a career in hospital project management, leadership and consulting, Moran submitted an application.

Fran Stoddard — a recognizable resident from her work as a local public television host and producer — also applied for the job, and the selectboard interviewed both during its regular meeting last Tuesday.

On the strength of his career credentials and his former service in the U.S. Army Reserve, Moran was unanimously appointed. Since then, he has been studying state statutes on constable authority and plans to meet with Police Chief Patrick Foley, Chittenden County Sheriff Kevin McLaughlin and Williston Town Manager Rick McGuire to understand their needs for the role.

“I’ll be talking with them to find out what is the most value I can add to the town,” Moran said. “It’s an area we are going to work on and nail down.”

A quasi-law enforcement position, Williston’s constable has historically been responsible for personally serving paperwork to Williston residents involved in legal disputes and enforcing dog license regulations.

The function of serving legal papers is the most sensitive part of the job, but Moran touted a “calming, problem-solving skill-set” to rely on in any heated situations.

“When you serve papers to people, a good percentage of them will not be welcoming those papers, so there will be situations that escalate very quickly,” he said. “There is the possibility that things could go in a direction you weren’t planning on … but I believe I’m prepared to handle that.”

Moran plans to talk to other town constables in Vermont about strategies to handle unpredictable situations.

“It’s always good to talk to people who have done it before to find out what’s a good process, what works and what doesn’t, instead of going at this with undue risk,” said Moran, who has lived in Williston for 20 years.

Moran’s appointment is for a one-year term. He would have to run for election in March of 2019 to retain the job.

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