KILLINGTON - Christopher Fusari is upset, and he's letting town
government know it.
Fusari spent June 13 picketing the Killington Town office, in
protest of an out of town company being awarded the contract to
maintain the grassland along Killington Road.
Fusari created a two-sided sign, one side of which read, "Town of
Killington are liars," and the other which read, "Will wrestle for
food," as well as a tart comment on the Economic Development and
Tourism office. He also had a bullhorn, which he used
infrequently to make his points to those working inside the
Two cars offered honks and cheers of support as they passed by,
though Fusari said he has his detractors, too.
"Somebody threw coffee at me, and I've been called the antichrist,"
Fusari said he decided to protest after the mowing bid went to Rock
Landscaping and Property Management.
"We had the contract last year," said business owner Tom Rock.
"We're based in Rutland, but we also have an office at High Ridge
Condominiums on East Mountain Road in Killington."
Rock added that he didn't understand the fuss.
"Everything went just fine last year," he said. "No one
Fusari said that the town's economic development office, which is
supposed to be bringing new business to Killington, has an
obligation to consider local contractors first. He said he had been
willing to negotiate the price to keep the work local.
"What's EDT for?" Fusari wanted to know. "Every year, they tell us
they want new jobs for Killington, but that didn't work for me. I
think they're unjust."
The town had received several bids for the mowing contract. Town
Manager Seth Webb said he made his choice based on pure economics:
the contract went to the lowest bidder.
"The town, in the bidding process, chose to go with the lowest,
most qualified bidder," Webb said. "Mr. Fusari's was the most
expensive bid we received. The winning bid was $110 less per
mowing, which adds up over the cost of a mowing season. It's a
Rock said a number of variables influenced the final cost, but on
average a mowing costs around $700, with 12 to 14 mowings a year,
depending on the growing season.
Fusari said he confined all his personal spending, some $400 a
week, to Killington. In effect, he said, the local economy receives
the difference in bids several times over.
"Every day I eat lunch, breakfast and dinner in Killington," he
said. "I spend all my money in the community. I'm not the richest
person in Killington - I'm probably the poorest who owns property -
but I put my money where my mouth is. That's my answer."
Selectman Jim Haff said he spoke briefly with Fusari.
"His bid was higher than the lowest bid," Haff said. "He didn't get
a contract. I understand where Chris is coming from, and I
understand he has a right to protest. I'm sure a lot of people will
agree with him."
Fusari said he believed Rock's company was based in New York
"Oh, that's not true at all," Rock said. "Some of my trucks have
New York plates, but we're registered in Vermont."
Fusari said the experience has left him disappointed.
"The reason I moved to Killington 15, 16 years ago is because I
thought Killington was one of the greatest places to live in the
country, and Vermont was the greatest state to live in," he said.
"Now it's all gone to crap."