Observer staff report
Twenty-nine candidates will vie for 15 slots to be Williston’s next Justices of the Peace.
As of last Friday’s filing deadline, 15 Democratic and 14 Republican names had been submitted for inclusion on the ballot for the Nov. 7 general election. No Independent candidates or candidates from other parties filed.
“It used to be that each party nominates half the number (of slots),” Town Clerk Deb Beckett said, referring to the Democratic and Republican parties. “But what happens now is both parties nominate all 15.”
Justices of the Peace are commonly believed to be the people who perform civil unions and weddings, but in fact few in Williston do. Currently, only three of 15 Justices – Jim McCullough, Tony Lamb and Bill Skiff – conduct ceremonies.
Justices have two significant responsibilities to the towns in which they serve. Along with Selectboard members, they serve as the Board of Civil Authority, or the officials responsible for overseeing elections. Voters most commonly see Justices of the Peace when they check in to vote or when they submit their ballot in the ballot box.
Justices of the Peace also serve as a quasi-judicial board, hearing property tax appeals when a reappraisal is conducted, and hearing requests from residents who cannot afford to pay their property taxes by the stated deadline.
The two-year term begins in February after a candidate has been elected.
Democratic candidates for Williston Justices of the Peace are as follows: Steve Bradish*, Meg Hart-Smith, Jeanne Jenson, Ted Kenney, Tony Lamb*, Ginny Lyons*, Terry Macaig*, Jim McCullough*, Andy Mikell*, Ruth Painter, Mary Peterson*, Ben Rose*, Carter Smith*, Gordon St. Hilaire, and Tom Vieth. Republican candidates are as follows: Patrice Clark, Marion Cushner, Brennan Duffy, George Gerecke*, Herb Goodrich*, Andrew Guernsey, James Haug, Virginia Morton, Shelley Palmer, Michael Quaid*, Christopher Roy, William Skiff*, Ruth Stokes* and Karol Tymecki.
* Denotes incumbent