By Alan J. Keays, VTDigger
RUTLAND — Ten candidates are facing off for five seats on the Rutland city Board of Aldermen.
Three of the five incumbents are seeking re-election to two-year terms on the 11-member panel. The filing deadline was 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29. Town Meeting Day is Tuesday, March 6.
Alderman Ed Larson, who did not seek re-election last year but was later appointed to the board by Mayor David Allaire, is not running for election this year. The post became vacant last year when Allaire, a longtime alderman, was elected to his first term as mayor. Larson said at the time he was appointed he would serve the remaining one year on Allaire’s board term then step aside.
Alderman Gary Donahue is the other incumbent not seeking re-election. The three incumbents seeking re-election are board president Sharon Davis, William Notte and Scott Tommola.
The challengers include familiar faces around the city. Paul Clifford, who has previously served as a city aldermen and later as a selectboard member in neighboring Rutland Town, is back in the city and running for a seat.
John Atwood, Matthew Whitcomb, Daniel White and Kam Johnston all ran for seats on the board last year but did not gain election. Johnston did get elected to a seat on the School Board. Whitcomb was later appointed to a post on the board of Rutland Redevelopment Authority.
Jack Crowther and Francis Haas are also making runs for seats on the Board of Aldermen. Crowther has frequently appeared before the board opposing the fluoridation of the Rutland City water supply.
Last year, 17 candidates vied for six seats on the board in an election that came on the heels of the city being selected by the U.S. Department of State as a resettlement site for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, an initiative that divided the city.
Three families, totaling 14 refugees, have resettled in Rutland. The plan had called for up to 100 Syrian and Iraqi refugees to resettle in the city by Sept. 30, but executive orders issued by President Trump shortly after taking office and the resulting legal challenges stalled that effort. No new refugee arrivals are expected this fiscal year in Rutland.