By Jacob Knipes
The pick is in for Rutland’s Board of Aldermen vacancy.
At the July 18 Aldermen meeting, Mayor David Allaire nominated former Alderman Matt Reveal to fill the vacancy left by Devon Neary. Reveal, who currently serves as a member of the Rutland Redevelopment Authority and as chairman for the Rutland City Republican Party, had previously served on the Board of Alderman from 2019 to 2020 to fill out state Rep. William Notte’s remaining term before losing election bids in 2020 and 2021.
Allaire, who began the selection process after helping to hire Neary as the Rutland Regional Planning Commission director, explained that he was looking for a seasoned candidate ready to serve as soon as possible.
“I was hoping that it was somebody that knew and understood the issues that we are facing in the city, that had some experience in business, and that was familiar with some of the members of the board and just how we operate so there wouldn’t be a large learning curve,” Allaire said. “I wanted somebody to be able to come in and more or less hit the ground running and be an active member right off the bat.”
While Allaire received interest from some candidates and recommendations for others, Allaire made a point to reach out to Reveal about the vacancy, eventually choosing him to be the candidate.
“I have an interest in politics, I always pay a little attention to what is going on in the City Hall as a city taxpayer, you know we all want to look out for ourselves as well as our other fellow taxpayers,” Reveal said. “So [Mayor Allaire] had actually reached out to me and explained the situation to me and asked if I was interested, and I had said that I would be interested if it was just filling the current term.”
This isn’t the first time a Reveal nomination has been put before the Board. At the Board of Aldermen meeting on April 19, 2021, Reveal’s nomination to the RRA received six “no” votes, four “yes” votes and one abstainment to come just one vote shy of rejection.
Board President Michael Doenges detailed where Matt Reveal’s latest nomination stands given the current board, saying: “I’m surprised with this particular board that the mayor appointed Reveal just with the way that the board is set up,” Doenges said. “I think the Mayor knows that there are a good chunk of people who are not big Matt Reveal fans. If you look at (Reveal’s) appointment to the RRA, he was almost not confirmed because of that, and although the Mayor may have a fondness for or impressions for Matt Reveal in these situations, it seems like the Mayor must think he can get this approved otherwise he wouldn’t have done it.”
Allaire made it clear, however, how he doesn’t think Reveal’s stances and leanings will affect the board’s operations.
“I think at the end of the day you have your vote and whoever comes out ahead or however it ends up you just move on to the next issue. So I don’t see that as interfering with the day-to-day operations or the decision making process. If anything I think it is just going to be more productive,” Allaire said.
As for Reveal’s goals, if appointed, Reveal explained that he would target inflation and tax rates as the Board heads into budget season.
“At the end of the year here we have to build next year’s budget for the city and I think it is touch and go for a lot of families in this community with financials, and we really need to do our best effort to watch spending and spend efficiently in areas where we need to,” Reveal said.
Doenges, however, expressed his belief that the Board needs those with a mindset more in line with new ideas and progress then following the status quo.
“Obviously we want people that are going to feel similar to us when it comes to being welcoming, or positive, or having a good attitude, but the mindset of ‘Rutland needs to grow and be better’ is really important, and I think that is something that is going to be highlighted in the way people vote for (Reveal) when it comes time,” Doenges said.
Despite the nature of his past nomination and the alignments of the current Board, Reveal said he was confident that his nomination would be approved.
“I hope and expect that those I have worked with in the past will put me back on the board. There are always a couple of wild cards that you don’t know what to expect, but I think that there are enough intelligent people that are currently on that board that will put me back on,” Reveal said.
Reveal’s nomination to the Board of Aldermen will be voted on at the board’s next meeting, which is schedule to be Monday, Aug. 1.