By Brett Yates
On Oct. 21, the Pittsfield Select Board appointed Anne Muller to fill a vacancy on the town’s board of auditors until a vote at next year’s Town Meeting. Select Board member Ann Kuendig identified Muller as a retiree with a background in marketing.
“It just seems like the people who are retiring here that you run into at the mountain because they volunteer at the mountain, or at the golf course, they’re looking to do public service,” Kuendig observed.
Muller will succeed Rebecca Steward in the role, where she’ll help Pittsfield’s other two auditors prepare the annual town report. Elected to a three-year term in 2020, Steward announced her intention to resign at an earlier Select Board meeting, noting fatigue and distraction that she attributed to a noisy rooster near her home.
According to the nonprofit Vermont League of Cities and Towns, “The town auditor plays a vital role in preserving the democratic nature of Vermont’s local government by ensuring that local officials are accountable for their expenditures of the taxpayers’ money. It is the auditor’s job to review the accounts of local officials and report the findings directly to the taxpayers for review. Because this report is presented only days before town meeting, the statutory scheme envisions that if the taxpayers do not like what the auditors’ report indicates about how the officials have spent the taxpayers’ money, the officials will be voted out of office.”
A town auditor is not required to have professional experience as an accountant.
Steward also served as the town’s health officer until Sept. 30 and, in this capacity, has yet to be replaced. The state’s commissioner of health appoints at least one municipal health officer in every Vermont town following a nomination by the local select board.