Relevant qualifications for municipal jobs questioned

Dear Editor,

Kudos to the KPAA for a well run debate between Select Board candidates Jim Haff and Andrew Gieda. Both candidates met the difficult challenge of standing up and speaking their mind before their fellow citizens, no easy feat, and moderator Mike Coppinger kept them on track.

I was disappointed when the issue of Mr. Haff’s formal education was raised. Not only did this take time away from urgent public issues such as schools and taxes, it felt irrelevant. Mr. Haff’s record of business experience as well as his service on school and Select Boards, all while filling various town jobs on a seemingly as-needed basis is evidence enough that a college degree is unnecessary in order to serve your community with competence and integrity.

It does raise an important point, although perhaps not the one Mr. Gieda intended. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Utah, Maryland, New Jersey, Colorado, North Carolina, Alaska and Virginia have rolled back college degree requirements for many government jobs in their states. In the private sector, GM, Google, Delta, Bank of America, IBM, and Tesla have done the same. In doing so, they offer opportunities to those who choose not (or could not afford) to pursue a college education.

It’s time for the state of Vermont to do the same and open up quality, middle-class, publicly funded jobs to all of its citizens. To exclude anyone like Mr. Haff from community service on the basis of educational credentials is a foolish waste of resources, one our town cannot afford.


Steven Kent, Killington

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