Saturday March 2, 2013

VERNON -- Voters have some choices to make at next week's Town Meeting.

That's because there are six candidates for three available town leadership positions, and all but one of those candidates are involved in contested races.

The Vernon town clerk position has attracted three candidates, largely because long-time Clerk Sandy Harris did not seek another term after 23 years on the job.

"With Sandy retiring, I just thought this was kind of a natural fit," said Marylynn Scherlin, one of the clerk candidates. "With everything I've done, I think I can serve the town well."

Also running for town clerk are Matthew Coombs and Susan Miller, and both Scherlin and Miller are touting their experience in town government.

Scherlin, a retired Air Force veteran who currently serves as an on-call Family Court clerk, already lists a fair amount of volunteer town service on her resume: The former Vernon School Board member now serves on the town's elderly assistance committee and is chairwoman of the finance and cemetery committees.

"I have a great group of people that I work with," Scherlin said. "I've done a lot of things for this town in a lot of different areas."

She also has served more than a decade as Vernon's delinquent-tax collector and is seeking re-election to that position this year. Cindy Turnley is challenging Scherlin for the tax-collector job in Tuesday's Australian Ballot voting.


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Miller also brings experience to the clerk vote, having worked as an assistant clerk for 11 years in Vernon. Miller recently has been on leave but said she is ready to return to work.

She said she has gained intimate knowledge of how the town office works with regard to vital records, elections and other topics and would make an easy transition into the clerk's position.

"The biggest thing is, I have a really deep understanding of what's expected," Miller said, adding that she wants to make the public more aware of resources available at the town office.

"I want it to be a very user-friendly office," she said. "I look forward to working with the staff there. They're good people."

Coombs could not be reached for comment.

There also are two Selectboard seats available in Vernon. Patty O'Donnell, who is the board's current chairwoman, is the sole candidate on the ballot for a three-year term.

The former state legislator and School Board member is finishing her second two-year Selectboard term and said her experience is key.

"I think it puts me in a position to help the town," O'Donnell said.

With Selectboard member Bob Miller not seeking re-election, the two candidates for one available two-year term are relative newcomers who both moved to town about four years ago.

Janet Rasmussen is touting her financial experience: She is a former equity analyst with Merrill Lynch who now runs a home-based consulting business.

Rasmussen began serving the town first as a member of the cemetery committee.

"It gave me a real perspective on the history of this town," she said. "People in this town are just amazing."

More recently, she has participated in budgetary planning as a member of Vernon's finance committee.

"Being able to be part of the budget process, I'm good at it and I really enjoyed it," Rasmussen said.

The other candidate for a two-year Selectboard seat is Joshua Unruh.

Unruh, who works for the Reformer, is a past member and past president of The Family Garden early education center board in Brattleboro.

He also sits on the deacon board of Windham Community Chapel in Dummerston. And Unruh is a current member of Vernon's Recreation Department board.

"In the four years I've lived in Vernon, I've grown to love the community atmosphere it possesses and the amenities our town so graciously affords," Unruh wrote in a letter to voters. "These are the things that many of us love as Vernon residents, and I hope I can help carry on these traditions as your selectman."

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.