Selectboard Reviews Town Clerk Performance and Rail Document

By John Hammer | The Charlotte News

The Selectboard once again held an out-of-schedule meeting at 11 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 10. The two items on the agenda were a performance evaluation of the Town Clerk Mary Mead and the approval of a letter to the Vermont Agency of Transportation concerning the Draft 2015 Vermont Rail Plan.

Elected officials are not required to have a performance evaluation. However, Mary Mead had requested that the Selectboard review her self-evaluation. Because the Selectboard can only meet in a warned session before conducting such a review in executive session, this process was followed in open meeting with requisite time provided for public discussion. Two members of the public voiced their sincere satisfaction with Mead’s performance as town clerk for more than 20 years.  The review was then conducted in executive session.

The second article followed discussions at two earlier Selectboard meetings at which the Citizens for Responsible Railroads presented the urgent need to strengthen the safety and environmental sections of the Draft 2015 Vermont Rail Plan being put forward by the VAOT. The CVFRS had developed a 14-page document stating its concerns and presented it to the Selectboard on Sept. 3.  As a result, the document had been reviewed by a number of town officials and Selectboard members and reduced to 10 pages. The issue then under discussion was primarily to determine how the town should forward the final document.

There followed almost two hours of discussion on the content and sense of the cover letter to be submitted by the Selectboard on behalf of the town. On the one hand, Selectman Spell proposed a cover letter that stated a position not agreeable with the Charlotte Fire & Rescue members present. His was an effort to take an independent position with support from the CVFRS document. Selectman Krasnow, on the other hand, moved that the town endorse and forward the CVFRS document. When Selectman Tegatz expressed reservations for supporting some of the statements made in the document, he was joined by Spell.

After it was generally agreed that the first paragraph of the 10-page document did a good job of succinctly stating the town’s concerns, it was agreed to make that the bulk of the cover letter, forwarding and endorsing the attached document. This letter, on town letterhead and signed by all Selectboard members, forwards the remaining contents of the CVFRS letter as Attachment One. They state that the Selectboard “supports and endorses the substance of these comments.”  It also points out that the comments were initiated by “Charlotte residents with input from the Charlotte fire chief/local emergency management director.”