Regular Selectboard meetings:
First and third Mondays of each month at 6 p.m. in the Selectboard Room, lower level of the Town Offices. Additional meetings are scheduled as necessary. Meetings are open to the public and handicapped-accessible. Meetings are also video-recorded for broadcast on Brattleboro Community Television. They are available online via the BCTV website’s Vernon page.
Selectboard Recording Secretary:
- Michelle Millerick — firstname.lastname@example.org — 802-380-5113
Duties and responsibilities:
The Selectboard is at the center of Vermont’s local government. It is the body that has general supervision and control over the affairs of the town.
The Vermont Secretary of State’s website describes the role of the Selectboard as follows: “General supervision and control over town; enacts ordinances, regulations, and policies for town; oversees town property and personnel; prepares, presents and manages budget; and oversees roads, including laying out, discontinuing, and reclassifying roads. Sits as local board of health, liquor control commission, and sewer commission. Should know the town well, be able to understand all sides of complex issues, and have very thick skin.”
A major public misconception is to believe that the Select Board has total and absolute authority over all personnel employed by the town. In Vernon, most of the major officers are elected officials. Each office is autonomous and officers answer to the voters and only the voters. The Selectboard can advise the officers but can not order them to do anything.
Reporting directly to the Selectboard are all non-elected department heads (and their subordinates) and all officers appointed by the Selectboard. The list of town positions on this site’s Town Directory page delineates the elected positions not reporting to the Selectboard versus the appointed positions who do report to the Selectboard.
The Select Board, in conjunction with all the other town officials, sets a budget for the coming year and that budget is presented to the voters who may accept, amend, or reject it at Town Meeting. The tax rate (just the municipal rate), another item people like to complain to the Select Board about, is set based on voted expenditures and the size of the Grand List. If the voters say, “Raise the money,” the Select Board is obligated to do that. However, the Select Board spends much time carefully watching the expenditures to be sure the money is, indeed, being spent in a way that will benefit the town.
Terms of office, vacancies:
Vernon’s Selectboard consists of five members, three of which are elected to three-year terms on a rotating basis, and the other two are elected on a two-year basis. Thus, under normal circumstances, two members will be elected every year. If a member resigns or passes away while in office, the Select Board may appoint someone to fill the position or call a Special Town Meeting for an election. If a three year position becomes vacant and there is more than a year left in the term, the Select Board may only appoint an individual until the next Town Meeting where the voters will vote for an individual to fill the remainder of the term. If a Special Town Meeting is called then the voters will, at that time, vote for an individual to fill the remainder of the term.