By Katy Savage
Board of Aldermen member Matt Whitcomb resigned Nov. 17, becoming the third member of the board to resign this year.
Whitcomb is starting a new job as director of ambulatory care at New London Hospital in New Hampshire and said in his resignation letter that he won’t have time to manage both positions. His last day on the board is Jan. 2.
“I was very sorry to see him go,” Rutland Mayor Dave Allaire said. “Matt was an active member of the board, brought a great perspective, was one of the leaders and he was a valuable asset to the city.”
Whitcomb was elected to the board in 2018 and served as president from 2020 to 2022.
“While it saddens me to step away from work that I have held dear, I must consider my professional career and, above else, what is best for my family at this time,” Whitcomb said in his resignation letter.
Whitcomb resigned a week after Chris Ettori announced his resignation from the Aldermen to spend more time with his family. Devon Neary also resigned from the Aldermen in June to lead the Rutland Regional Planning Commission.
“I think it’s a slightly unusual to have three (resignations) in such a short time,” Allaire said. “They all seem to have very legitimate reason for leaving. It’s more to do with personal reasons.”
Allaire said five of six people expressed interest in filling Ettori’s position. Lawrence Cupoli, who is stepping down this year after serving 10 years in the House of Representatives, stood out to Allaire as the best pick. “I’ve known him for 30-40 years,” Allaire said. “He is a very valued and trusted member of the community. He has absolutely shown his devotion to serve Rutland city.”
Cupolli was unanimously approved to fill Ettori’s seat at the Nov. 21 Board of Aldermen meeting.
Ettori, meanwhile, was selected to fill a vacancy on the Rutland Redevelopment Authority Board (RRA).
“When he came to me and said he was resigning from the Board of Aldermen, he also expressed interest in filling one of the vacancies on the the RRA board,” Allaire told the Aldermen at the Nov. 21 meeting.
Ettori was a vocal critic of RRA Executive Director Brennan Duffy, who resigned in October in the midst of scrutiny from both Ettori and Aldermen Thomas Franco. The RRA is currently seeking a new leader.
“I believe (Ettori’s) experience will be a necessary and helpful addition to the RRA board at this crucial time,” Allaire said at the meeting.
The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved Ettori to the board along with Hillary Ward to fill a second vacancy on the RRA.
Allaire said Ward is a Rutland city resident who works at Rutland Mental Health.
“She expressed a strong dislike of politics, which I believe is a perfect perquisite for the position,” Allaire said.
Allaire said he would likely not recommend someone to fill Whitcomb’s seat on the Aldermen given how close it is to the March 2023 election.
“I’m leaning toward leaving it vacant,” Allaire said in an interview. “Even if I nominate somebody, they’d only see for a month and a half before the election.”