By Alan J. Keays/VTDigger and Polly Mikula
RUTLAND — Two are vying for Rutland City’s mayoral post, and several more are challenging seats on the city’s Board of Aldermen this Tuesday,March 5, Town Meeting Day.
The two candidates on the ballot for the city’s mayoral job are incumbent David Allaire, who was elected to his first two-year term in 2017, and challenger Michel Messier.
“I’m excited about getting out and talking to people about the first two years,” Allaire said after the filing deadline Jan. 28. “I enjoy the job and I think we made a lot of progress. I welcome the opportunity to talk to the voters.”
His challenger, Messier, became actively involved in city matters several years after forming a group, Save Combination Pond, when plans were afoot by the state to drain the man-made neighborhood pond over concerns it was a cause of elevated temperatures inMoon Brook. Alternatives measures are now being pursued, other than emptying the pond.
“Dave is a nice guy, I truly believe his heart is in the right place for the city,” Messier said. “I think I’m just fiscally more conservative than the current administration.”
Messier is also running for a two-year term as city, treasurer challenging incumbent Mary Markowski, who also filed for election.
If elected to both, Messier said he would choose to serve as mayor. He opted to run for both, he said, due to his interest and experience in accounting and financial matters.
The race for a total of seven seats on the city’s 11-member Board of Aldermen include nine people running for six two-year posts, and two candidates running for a one-year position.
The candidates for the six two-year seats include all six incumbents: Melinda Humphrey, Christopher Ettori, Tom DePoy, William Gillam, Lisa Ryan and Rebecca Mattis. The three challengers are: Robert Schlachter, Matt Merritt and Jacqueline “Beth” Fleck.
There is also a race for a single one-year seat on the board, to fill the remaining term of former Alderman William Notte, who resigned late last year following his election in November as a state representative.
Two candidates are vying for that one seat: Matt Reveal and Dan White.
Also on the city ballot, incumbent city assessor Barry Keefe is being challenged by Kam Johnston.
Two years ago, Johnston ran for a slew of city offices including mayor, alderman and School Board. He won a School Board seat, but finished well back in the races for mayor and alderman.
In the final contested race, Michel “Champlain” Messier is challenging incumbent Mary Markowski for a two-year term as city treasurer.