To recuse or not to recuse

Dear Editor,

It has come to my attention that a certain self proclaimed “political junkie” is castigating our newly elected Selectman Jim Haff for involvement in reorganizing the operational management of the Green Mountain National Golf Course (GMNGC). He states that Mr. Haff has an agenda regarding GMNGC and thus should recuse himself from any Selectboard decisions regarding same. I agree that Mr. Haff has an agenda; it is to straighten out the management of GMNGC so that the Killington taxpayers’ burden in subsidizing its operations doesn’t continue to grow. In addition to the outstanding $2.5 million or so debt from its construction which the taxpayers are still on the hook for, there is also almost $400,000 in operating subsidies still owed to the town from GMNGC’s operations. Haff’s agenda, whatever the “political junkie’s” mistaken notion of it is, is to make GMNGC as self sustaining as possible.

Aside from the debt, GMNGC is faced with rather large upcoming capital expenses. Their golf carts need replacing, the irrigation system is coming due for maintenance if not replacement, the clubhouse needs a new roof, and so on. These are expenses which at the moment GMNGC cannot meet given its currently projected cash flow.

I don’t know why anyone would want Haff to recuse himself. After all he is the person who called attention to the debt crisis with GMNGC back when the town was paying off the GMNGC construction bond with short term borrowing which ended up costing the town almost a million dollars in additional debt costs. He was instrumental in getting the 1% options tax receipts to be used to address the debt as well as getting the short term debt refinanced. This critic also points out that Haff published cartoons criticizing GMNGC. Well, ironically that cartoon is the same editorially as the critic’s letter in advocating a certain point of view. He is criticizing Haff for the same thing he is doing. Given this critic apparently doesn’t pay taxes in Killington, maybe he should recuse himself from commenting on our town’s issues.

Frankly, given Haff’s “agenda” as described above he should be the last person to recuse himself from the process of getting GMNGC under financial control. How did it become this “out of town” critic’s business to meddle in our town’s interests? Maybe he should answer that.

It seems to me some serious problems addressed by “kicking the can down the road”, are finally being tackled under this current Selectboard of which Haff is an integral part. To suggest he recuse himself is to ask all taxpayers in Killington to recuse themselves as they all have an agenda regarding GMNGC.

Vito Rasenas
Killington Taxpayer

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