March 1 Town Election: Who’s on the ballot?

Voting boxAs a guide to Vernon voters, here’s the ballot lineup for the March 1 Town Elections. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the lower level of the Town Hall (handicapped-accessible). Click on any of the highlighted names for their candidate statements submitted to this site. Other candidates did not submit statements. For further information about the candidates, view the video of the Feb. 17 Candidates Forum.

Also on the ballot: Vermont presidential primary, and (separate ballot) voters’ non-binding preference on the construction of a gas-fired generating plant in Vernon.

Office Candidate(s)
DELINQUENT TAX COLLECTOR – 1 Year Term Marylynn Scherlin
1ST CONSTABLE – 1 Year Term Peter Crossman
2ND CONSTABLE – 1 Year Term Scott Lane
GRAND JUROR – 1 Year Term
LISTER – 3 Year Term Carol J. Hammond
SCHOOL DIRECTOR – 2 Year Term Marylynn Scherlin
SCHOOL DIRECTOR – 3 Year Term Walter C. Breau
SELECTBOARD – 3 Year Term Bronna M. Zlochiver

Sandra Harris

SELECTBOARD – 2 Year Term Stephen Skibnowsky
SELECTBOARD – 3 Year Unexpired Term (ends in 2018) Joshua Unruh

Bronna M. Zlochiver

TOWN AGENT- 1 Year Term Nancy C. Howe
TOWN AND TOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT CLERK – 3 Year Term Nancy L. Gassett

Timothy R. Arsenault

Melissa R. Ferris

TOWN MODERATOR – 1 Year Term
TOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT MODERATOR – 1 Year Term
TOWN AND TOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT TREASURER – 3 Year Unexpired Term (ends in 2017) Cindy Turnley

March news from Vernon’s churches

Vernon Advent Christian Church, located at 4554 Fort Bridgman Road at the VT/MA state line, meets every Sunday at 9:15 am for Sunday School classes for all ages. Morning worship begins at 10:30 am and Youth Group and Intercessory Prayer meet at 6:00 pm. Adult Bible study begins every Wednesday at 630 pm at the church and other Bible study meetings are held throughout the week. Super Auction Sunday:  March 6 Potluck Dinner at 12 noon in the fellowship hall followed by live auction. Many different items will be available. This is open to the public. Benefit for the Haiti Mission Trip March 2016. The building is handicapped accessible. Church Phone: 802-257-2341 or 413-498-4458. Church email: accvern@together.net. Pastor: Rev. Bruce C. Burks, email: pastorbruce@vernonadventchristian.com.   Website. FaceBook.

Mountain View Seventh-day Adventist Church, located at 1002 Fort Bridgman Road, Vernon, VT, meets every Saturday at 9:40 am for Sabbath School classes for all ages. Church service begins at 11:15 am. Concert: Ilana Joyce Cady will perform a piano concert March 12, 2016, 6:30 pm. All are welcome. Ilana was a winner of the 2012 and 2014 Young Artist Competition at Andrews University. She performed MacDowell’s Piano Concerto No. 2 Larghetto Calmato and Brahms’ Concerto No. 1 Maestoso with the Andrews University Symphony Orchestra. Ilana is currently pursuing a master’s of music degree in piano performance at Longy School of Music of Bard College; studying with Leslie Amper. All are welcome. Church phone: 802-254-5088. Pastor Art Miller: 802-254-4477  Email:artjudymiller@yahoo.com.  Website. Facebook.

Vernon Union Church, located at 2631 Fort Bridgman Road (next to Vernon Hall), Vernon, VT. Meets every Sunday: 8:00 am, prayer time; 9:00 am Bible study; 10:00 am, morning worship, followed by a social hour. Childcare is available. The church is fully handicapped accessible.Church phone: 802-257-8523. Minister: Rev. Terry Robinson, 802-258-2228. Email: vuch@vernonunion.comcastbiz.netWebsite.  Facebook.

Vernon town clerk’s report raises concerns

The Selectboard has called a special meeting Wednesday to review the town clerk’s section of the annual Town Report over concerns it might cross into electioneering.

Residents taking to the Vernon Vermont Facebook page started voicing concerns about it on Saturday night. What they found troubling was the town clerk’s report, which reads a bit like campaign literature for a candidate who is currently working in the office.

Vernon’s town policy states that town employees may be a candidate for election on Town Meeting Day “provided that their position with the Town is not used in any way to further their candidacy.” The election is March 1.

READ MORE AT REFORMER.COM…

Candidate’s statement: Nancy Gassett for Town Clerk

Hi, my name is Nancy Gassett and I am running for Town Clerk. I have been a property owner and resident of Vernon for approximately 27 years. For those of you who may not know me, I am presently serving as an assistant town clerk in Vernon.

Early in June of 2015, I was sworn in as an assistant clerk to fill in while our present Town Clerk Susan Miller took a medical leave of absence. Susan has been unable to return from her leave due to health complications, so I have continued to fill in working with Assistant Town Clerk Aina Lindquist, training and performing town clerk duties. Aina has served as an assistant town clerk in Vernon for approximately ten years. She came to Vernon with experience in other Vermont towns.

Why I’m Running

Agreeing to fulfill the position of assistant clerk has given me an awareness of the extraordinary list of roles and responsibilities that are entrusted to Vermont Town Clerks by statutes. I decided to run for clerk because I believe the elected position is best served by a person who has had training and hands-on experiences in the Town Clerk’s office. The duties and demands of the office are uniquely specific, making training and experience a necessity to the effective functioning and correct handling of our vital Town records.

Looking back over the past forty years, the transition of town clerks in Vernon has followed a practical pattern that I believe has served the best interest of the taxpayers and residents. Our Town Clerk from 1990 to 2013 was trained by the previous town clerk of 14 years before she took office. Our present town clerk was an assistant town clerk for 11 years before she took office in 2013.

Clerk’s Roles and Responsibilities

To have a better understanding of the details of the Vernon Town Clerk’s office duties, please read pages 25 and 26 of the 2015 Vernon Town Report. For further elaboration on the roles and responsibilities of the elected position of a Town Clerk in Vermont, below is a link to the Town Clerk’s Handbook on the Vermont League of Cities and Towns website. http://www.vlct.org/assets/Resource/Handbooks/VLCT_Municipal_Clerk_Handbook.pdf

Budget Realities

I believe the budget realities in Vernon further necessitate the need for an experienced Town Clerk. The closing of VY has forced budget restraints resulting in a reduction of work hours for the town clerk’s office. In years past the office has been funded for about 110 work hours weekly. The next fiscal year budget allows for 69 work hours weekly in the Town Clerk’s office. The two salary line items break down to 40 hours for the town clerk and 29 hours for assistant work.

Future Plans

In looking ahead, Aina and I have been working to make some changes to better fulfill the duties of the Town Clerk’s office. We have recently made an agreement to have the remainder of our Town records copied for preservation and back up. In the process, we are having Town record copies converted to a digital format. Our aim is to have digital files on a Town Clerk office computer for the public to have easier access in making copies and doing research.

I also believe we have a responsibility to make preparations for the future oversight of the office. If I am elected, Aina and I will seek out a person from the next generation in Vernon, hoping to find a resident who is willing to be trained and prepared to carry on the duties of the Town Clerk’s office. We are both willing to adjust our salaries to accommodate a trainee for this purpose.

As I have served in the Town Clerk’s Office over the past several months, I have enjoyed meeting and serving the people of Vernon. I have also enjoyed learning the systems and procedures that make up the challenging workload. I would love the opportunity to continue serving the people of Vernon.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and no matter who you vote for, please come out and vote on March 1st!

Respectfully, Nancy Gassett

Candidate’s statement: Steve Skibniowsky for Selectboard

Steve SkibniowskyI am pleased and honored to be a candidate for the Vernon Selectboard in March 2016. First, I would like to provide you with some information about me. I am a Vernon native. My father’s parents arrived here in Vernon in 1922 as immigrants from Ukraine. My earliest memories of Vernon are of the dairy farms and all of the hard work that went into keeping them running. I attended Vernon Elementary School as a first grader in the first year that the present school was opened so I missed out on the one-room schoolhouse experience. I was fortunate to be able to attend Mount Hermon School and went on to Keene State College for my degrees in Biology and Chemistry. I returned to Vernon in 1971 to live at the brick house where my grandparents had started a family so many years before. Since that time, I was employed at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station and retired from there in January 2015. During those 43 years, I believed that public service was important both for me and my community. I have served as second constable in Vernon as well as a member of the Vernon Planning Commission for many years. I was also fortunate to be appointed to the Vernon Selectboard in 2015 to fill in for an unexpected absence. Previously, I played an active role in Brattleboro Adult Education where I met my future wife, Jane Gogel. Most recently, Jane and I built a house on Whitetail Drive where I reside today.

Along this journey, I have formulated some guidelines for community involvement. Firstly, I am a firm believer in fiscal balance. We, as a community, need to limit our expenditures to what we have available for resources; keeping in mind that taxes are a necessary burden and must be spent wisely and with the consent of those being taxed. I am further mindful that property taxes are a greater burden for some people than for others and I pledge to act in accordance with that understanding. I have accumulated some experience with budgets and financial controls during my tenure as a department manager at Vermont Yankee and I will bring those skills to the Vernon Selectboard if elected. Secondly, I believe that everyone has a right to his or her opinion about an issue and I support everyone’s right to express that opinion in a respectful way. I do not see legislative debate, at any level of government, as a place to hurl insults or otherwise cast aspersions on others because of their differing opinions. I also pledge that, if elected to the Selectboard, I will not shy away from controversy nor will I vote to support any action that I believe to be wrong for the town of Vernon.

In closing, I ask for your support on March 1st, 2016 and in return, I will muster all of my capabilities to bring Vernon towards a bright future.

Thank you,

Steve Skibniowsky

stephenskibniowsky@comcast.net

Candidate’s Statement: Sandra Harris for Selectboard

Sandy HarrisI am running for re-election to the Vernon Selectboard. I am completing my fourth year on the Board, but for those who don’t know me, here are a few of the reasons I feel I am qualified:

My family has been in Vernon, working for Vernon, for over a century. Following in their footsteps I have served as Assistant Town Clerk, drove school bus, served on the Planning Commission, Town Clerk for 23 years (becoming Vernon’s first to be certified as a State and International Municipal Clerk), Selectboard secretary for 18 years, President of the Vermont Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Association, President of the New England Municipal Clerks Institute and Academy Board of Directors, President of Vermont League of Cities and Towns Board of Directors, mentor for new Clerks, and served and continue to serve on many other boards and committees. I have learned, and continue to learn from Clerks, Treasurers, Selectboards, Aldermen, Councilmen, Mayors, Town Managers, Town Administrators, etc. as diverse as you can imagine. Some of these are from huge municipalities, some from towns so small they would fit into the foyer at our Town Office Building. Some of those offices didn’t even have indoor plumbing.

I grew up in Vernon before Vermont Yankee, when Vernon was just a small farm community. Town Meeting was held on the first Tuesday of March in the school cafeteria and the school cooks would cook the lunch for everyone. As a child I watched people who were arguing moments before, sitting down to a meal and laughing together. Town business was separate from personalities and seldom did disagreements continue outside of that meeting. As Vermont Yankee brought more money into the Town the town changed. We always knew Vermont Yankee was not a permanent fixture in Town and those early Town leaders set about to make sure that when Vermont Yankee left, the taxpayers in Vernon would not suffer. However, they got older, and died. New Town leaders started chipping away at the funds that had been set up to protect the future of Vernon and you see where we are today.

Today we face making cuts that must change the way business is done in Vernon. It is painful and frustrating, but unless we take the hard steps now the taxpayers will be unable to afford to live here. We have no large industry to pick up the slack at this time. The Planning/Economic Development Commission is spending hours searching for solutions, but until an industry chooses to come to Town we, the taxpayers, must foot the whole bill.

This is not an easy time to serve but I feel that the historical background I can bring, as well as the education I have received from so many other municipalities, can help. I would appreciate your vote. HOWEVER whether you vote for me or not, please do vote. It is your right and your vote is very important.

Thank you

Sandra B. Harris CMC

Candidate’s statement: Cindy Turnley for Town and School District Treasurer

My name is Cindy Turnley and I am running for the office of Town and School District Treasurer. I have been a resident of Vernon since 1998 although a resident of Vermont all of my life.   I have been happily married to my husband, Kevin for twenty years and we have a dog named Raleigh (I am sure many of you have seen us walking with her around town). I graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 1984 with a focus on business and accounting.

  • 34 years’ experience in accounting and business relations.
    1. Payroll
    2. Accounts Payable
    3. Accounts Receivable
    4. Credit & Collections
    5. Human Resources
  • Entering my 12th year working in the Treasurer’s office
    1. 9 years as Assistant Treasurer
    2. 1 year experience covering as Treasurer during former Treasurer’s LOA
    3. 1 year as appointed Town and School District Treasurer
  • 2 years’ experience working closely with Sullivan, Powers and Associates streamlining office procedures.
  • Volunteer on the Elderly Assistance Board.

During my tenure in the treasurer’s office I have very much enjoyed assisting and getting to know residents of the Town and look forward to continuing to develop that relationship. I would appreciate your vote on March 1st.

Candidate’s statement: Bronna Zlochiver for Selectboard

Bronna ZlochiverI am Bronna Zlochiver and I am running for a seat on Vernon’s Selectboard because I care about our town’s future. I currently serve on the Library Board of Trustees and the Fiber Optics Sub-committee, as well as representing Vernon on the Windham County Economic Development Program Council, which helps administer the Entergy funds.

I am editor and co-founder of the Vernon Community News; co-founder of vernonvermont.org, the unofficial town website; and co-founder of the Vernon Artisans Market and Studio Tour. I regularly attend Selectboard meetings where, if you watch them on BCTV, you will see that I ask questions because I want to learn and I offer suggestions because I care.

I want to serve on the Selectboard because this is a time of opportunity for us, a time to work together to make Vernon a place where folks want to live, work, or visit. I want to serve on the Selectboard because I care about Vernon.

There’s a new sheriff in town

Melissa EvansAfter six years of serving Putney as a patrol officer for the Windham County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Melissa Evans will transition to a supervisory role in Vernon.

But for Evans this change is bittersweet, as Putney was where she launched her law enforcement experience and became attached to the community.

“There’s not just one person I want to thank, but instead everyone in town,” said Evans. “They helped me become a better law enforcement officer and person.”

…READ MORE AT BRATTLEBORO REFORMER

Candidate’s statement: Tim Arsenault for Town Clerk

Tim ArsenaultVernon native and Hall of Fame broadcaster Tim ( Johnson ) Arsenault, will seek the office of Vernon Town Clerk in the March first town wide election. The 59 year old Arsenault has served as the Town Moderator for the past 17 years, Brattleboro Union High School district Moderator for the past 16 years, Justice of the peace for 13 years, and Board of Civil Authority Chair for the past 7. He was named to the Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2014, and was the 2014 Brattleboro area Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year. Tim is a 1968 graduate of Vernon Elementary School, and a 1974 Brattleboro Union High school graduate.

“In a town like Vernon, the Clerk is very often the first point of contact for new or current residents,” Arsenault stated. “My goal is to give all of our town’s hard working citizens the first class customer service they deserve, and will do my best to provide a friendly, welcoming tone, for all.”

The Vernon native is employed as News Director at Brattleboro radio stations WTSA FM and AM. Under Federal Communications Commission rules, Arsenault will not have an on air role at the radio station during the campaign.

Tim and his wife Sue live on Newton Hill Road in Vernon.

For more information, call 257-7881 or e mail grampagonzo@yahoo.com.