I 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.
Sandra B. Harris CMC