On November 22, 2023

Former Rutland city clerk looks for rule change

 

Staff report

The ousted Rutland City clerk is looking for a charter change that would allow future clerks to be elected, instead of appointed. 

Henry Heck, who was not reappointed to the city clerk position in March under new Mayor Mike Doenges, asked the Board of Aldermen for the change on Nov. 20.

“Upon not being reappointed, I was contacted by a lot of people who were very unhappy about the decision,” Heck told the Aldermen at the meeting. 

Heck had been in the position about 14.5 years. He declined to comment on the mayor’s decision in an interview outside the meeting.

Doenges said the clerk is appointed in most of the state’s largest cities. 

 “From a mayoral standpoint, I would actually pass the request to the board to say, is this something that the board wants to discuss? If so, maybe refer to committee.” 

 Heck gave the  Aldermen his own statistics, explaining most of Vermont’s 256 towns have an elected clerk.

“Over 90% to 93% of those 256 communities out there have an elected clerk,” he said. 

Alderman John McCann said Heck may be looking to adjust the rules for his own benefit. “I haven’t heard any concerns about the mechanism that we use to identify a clerk for the city,” he said. 

The Aldermen voted to refer Heck’s request to the charter and ordinance committee.

Heck said he would be starting a petition to hasten the process and ensure his request is made a priority in the city. “Time is of the essence as far as that goes,” he said. 

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