By Stephen Seitz
Except for Killington, there doesn’t seem to be much excitement in area races for local office on the east side of the Green Mountains this year.
Killington town clerk Lucrecia Wonsor said that former selectman Jim Haff will challenge chairwoman Patty McGrath for the three-year seat. Otherwise, she said, the other candidates for local office are unopposed. The Board of Selectmen won’t need to fill any empty offices, either.
“Nothing’s going vacant,” Wonsor said.
Over in Woodstock, town clerk Jay Morgan said that, as of late Monday afternoon, “We don’t have a race yet.”
While most of the petitions had come in by mid-day Monday, Jan. 25, Morgan said that the one-, two-, and three-year seats for Auditor had attracted no candidates, nor had two seats for Trustee of Public Funds. The deadline for petitions was 5 p.m. Monday.
In that eventuality, Morgan said, two things can happen under Vermont law.
“If no one runs, then a candidate could run as a write-in,” he said. “That candidate would have to get 30 votes to win. In the event of two write-in candidates, then the candidates with the most votes over 30 would win.”
The alternative, Morgan said, would be for the Board of Selectmen to appoint people to fill the empty seats.
“The selectmen find someone willing to be appointed, and that person serves until the next election,” he said. “Woodstock has been doing this with auditors.”
Ludlow Town Clerk Ulla Cook said the current Board of Selectmen will remain as it is. No one is challenging Howard Barton for his three-year seat, nor is anyone trying to deny John Neal or Logan Nicoll another year on the Board.
However, a number of local Ludlow offices are going begging. No one is running for moderator and there will be a vacant School Board Seat, as well as no candidates for school district clerk or treasurer.
Plymouth Town Clerk Sandie Small said no one was challenging any incumbents this year.
“It’s pretty quiet,” she said. “We could use another school director, but otherwise, we have one candidate for each position.”
Some smaller towns, like Reading, Bridgewater, and Pomfret, choose their officers from the floor in the classic Town Meeting format.
Town Meeting Day in 2016 is March 1. Killington’s polls will be open at the town office building from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In Plymouth, voting takes place in the municipal building from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ludlow’s polls will be open at the town hall, also from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Woodstock voters may vote at the town hall from 7 a.m.to 7 p.m.
Select Board challengers in Rutland County
For Castleton’s three-year Select Board seat Selectman Robert Spaulding is challenging incumbent Selectman John Hale for his seat. Spaulding previously held a one-year term. Clarendon has two Select Board seats facing competition. Daniel Pinkowski and Marjorie White Southard will vie for the seat previously held by Robert Bixby, who is not seeking reelection. Marjorie White Southard is also challenging incumbent Rick Wilbur.
In Danby, there will be a vote for both a one-year and three-year seat on the Select Board. For the one-year seat, Byron Battease, Lynn Bondurant (incumbent) and Steven Haines will face off. Though the incumbent, Bondurant was appointed to the seat and is running for the first time to retain it. For the three-year term Chairman Daniel Garceau is being challenged by Paul Pearce.
Fair Haven faces two contested races. Sean Galvin and Dick Frazier are seeking re-election for one-year terms and Christopher Cole, a former board member, will challenge them for one of those seats.
In Middletown Springs, Christopher Fenton is running for a two-year seat on the Select Board against incumbent Raymond “Tony” Lamberton, and Carl Haynes will go up against Patricia Kenyon for the three-year seat.
As of Monday, Jan. 25, there was a vacant seat on the Poultney Select Board, as incumbent Ed Lewis did not seek re-election and no petitions were taken out.
In Proctor, three select board seats are up for grabs. For the one-year seat Selectman Jeffrey Durkee seeks reelection while Joe Manning challenges. For the two-year seat, incumbent William Champine is running against Susan Feenick. For the three-year seat, incumbent Bruce Baccei will be seeking reelection but Carol Grace is challenging him for that position.
In Tinmouth, Amanda Buffum Gill and Frank Sears are challenging incumbent Selectman Gregg Casey for a three-year term on the Board.
There are no contested races in Benson, Chittenden, Mendon, Mount Holly, Mount Tabor, Pawlet, Shrewsbury, West Haven, West Rutland or Wallingford. Pittsfield and Sudbury nominate candidates from the floor.