Face the facts

Dear Editor,

Hello taxpayers of Killington, it’s Jim Haff. I’m not on the ballot this year, surprise! But a good friend of mine, Chuck Claffey, is on the ballot, and I’m asking you to help Chuck become the next Select Board member for the Town of Killington. Chuck works for Nat West Financial as a computer code writer. He’s strong with financials and has some no-nonsense beliefs on the town’s role in the community. He believes that the town should be taking care of its core infrastructure: road, school, library, recreation, town hall, public safety etc. Chuck believes (as I do) that we need to take care of what we have like the Green Mountain Golf Course. It’s better to continue to find ways to have this golf course sustain itself without costing the taxpayers any more money – other than these last few years of bond payments. Chuck concurs that we took the right step of bringing in Brown Golf Management to stabilize operations in the effort to enhance the financial return to the town.

Chuck’s opponent, Mrs. McGrath, has sat on the Select Board the last six years. Due to the lack of stability in the town manager’s office, she and prior Select Boards have presented misleading and false information to the voters. One example of misinformation is the simple question of having debt from Tropical Storm Irene. Mrs. McGrath argued for years that we didn’t have a debt when it was plain to see (at least to me) that we did. This March 5 voters will be asked to approve Article 6: $588,000 to cover Irene related debt. We can no longer pretend the debt doesn’t exist.

While I understand that not everyone understands financial reports, Mrs. McGrath failed to take the necessary steps identified by the town’s auditor to correct financial reporting for the town of Killington. In fact, during her last run for the Select Board, she not only defended the town books at the time, she inappropriately attacked those suggesting the town needed to do a better job.  Well, the truth about the town books has surfaced and the record will show that Mrs. McGarth failed one of her primary responsibilities as a Select Board member: to make sure the town’s information is appropriately reported.

Also, Mrs. McGrath never understood the golf course debt or operations. Once again, Mrs. McGrath failed to identify the issues surrounding the golf course, put together a plan to correct the operational issues, and set a sustainable course for its future. Instead, before management changes last year, the golf course ended up owing the town of Killington $286,209. Again, she failed in her responsibilities as a Select Board member and never wanted to face the facts.

I do not believe Mrs. McGrath was intentionally trying to do any harm to the town. I do believe she wanted to support those in the community (including inexperienced town managers that did not understand the town’s financial position), support those people that wanted to extend the town’s reach beyond a Vermont town’s traditional role at the taxpayers’ expense, and got caught up in the rhetoric of taking away from the town’s core functions to finance events for select businesses.

Those of you who have voted for me in the past, I thank you. This year, I’m looking to enhance the makeup of the Select Board, please vote for Chuck Claffey.

Jim Haff, Killington

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