Wed, Mar 28, 2012 02:52 PM
KILLINGTON-Killington's selectmen tabled action on a citizens'
petition at their regular meeting on March 20, voicing doubt that
the signatories may not have been sure of what they were
The petition asks, "Will the town vote to take advantage of the
provisions of Chapter 37, Title 24 of Vermont Statutes Annotated
and authorize the selectmen to employ a town manager?"
A yes vote would keep the town manager. A no vote would force
administrative duties onto the selectmen, fiscal duties to the town
treasurer, and collecting delinquent taxes to the first constable,
according to recently appointed Town Manager Seth Webb. Webb said
the information came from the Vermont League of Cities and
All three selectmen said giving up the town manager would be a bad
"I ran and was elected to be a selectman," said Selectman Bernard
Rome. "This is far different. To suggest that we would have the
duties and obligations of a town manager is not what I signed up
for. For one thing, I don't have the time. I already have a
On March 14, Killington resident Melvin Neisler submitted the
petition with 52 voter signatures, more than the 5 percent (or 43
signatures) needed. However, since that time several residents
asked to have their signatures removed because they didn't
understand what the article meant.
"I think some folks thought that the board couldn't appoint the
town manager," Selectman Jim Haff said. "Maybe they thought the
voters could. I don't know what it was."
Webb said that people could remove their signatures until the board
warned a special town meeting for the vote.
"They can't revoke the petition," he said, "but if they request it
in writing, their names can be removed. If the number of signatures
falls below 43, the petition would become invalid."
"I wish people would read what they sign before they sign it," Haff
said. "I believe all three of us should have a town manager. I just
have a dispute with the salary. I don't think any selectboard could
run this town. We'd need a town administrator."
Chairman Chris Bianchi said that wouldn't be good enough.
"The board would still be more involved," he said.
"We need to educate folks that you really don't want us to run the
town," Haff added.
Bianchi said signatories needed some time to reconsider.
"Given the number of people who have already expressed that they
didn't know what the petition meant, I have a feeling there are
more like that," he said. 'To move forward with a vote would deny
them the opportunity."
Resident Vito Rasenas wanted to know why Bianchi called several
voters already, when he had made no such effort on a petition
article at the recent town meeting on restoring full payment of
town employees' health insurance.
"That's inconsistent," he said.
Bianchi said this situation was different.
"I was elected to use my judgment for the best interest of the
town," Bianchi said. "I don't believe this petition is in the best
interest of the town. The insurance article was clear. This
The board will discuss the petition again at a special meeting on
Killington resident Melvin Neisner, Jr. has also drafted a
possible legal complaint against the town, which he shared in an
email to Town Manager Seth Webb. In it, he alleges that the
selectmen violated their public trust by not conducting a search
for a new town manager after Webb became interim town manager. He
also claims that Webb's compensation is not commensurate with his
qualifications. Neisner also claims that this has damaged the town
The board of selectmen has scheduled a special meeting at 7:30
p.m. on March 28, at which Neisner's petition will be discussed. A
total of eight residents have removed their names from the
petition, bringing the number of signatories from 52 to 44. If two
more signatures are removed, the petition becomes invalid for lack
of 5 percent support.
"We've had no request to add names," Webb said in a telephone
interview March 27. "We have heard from the town attorney, and
we'll discuss that at the special meeting."