New Brattleboro Selectboard chairman Gartenstein talks about board issues

Friday March 29, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- With the resignation of Selectboard member Ken Schneck, newly appointed board Chairman David Gartenstein says the board will likely ask for letters of interest from town residents who want to be considered to fill Schneck's seat until the next election.

Schneck has accepted a job at a school near Cleveland and will be leaving the board in June.

Gartenstein said the board will discuss how it wants to proceed at the next board meeting.

"The charter sets out the framework, and the steps, the Selectboard needs to take to appoint a new member," Gartenstein said Thursday. "I anticipate we will solicit expressions of interest from potential new Selectboard members."

Gartenstein was appointed as chairman at a special meeting Monday night. Newly elected board member Kate O'Connor was appointed to be vice-chairwoman and David Schoales is now the clerk.

Gartenstein said the Selectboard will vote for the new member in open session.

Gartenstein said one of the new board's first responsibilities will be to name the members of the Police-Fire Oversight Committee.

There were not enough votes during last weekend's Representative Town Meeting to force the board to take another look at the $14 million in renovations to the police and fire stations, but Gartenstein said it was clear that many residents want the board to address the expected tax increase that will come with the project.

Payments on a $14-million bond are expected to add more than 10 cents to the Brattleboro tax rate.

Even though the project has been approved, Gartenstein said, the board still has the authority to approve the final design, and he said the board and the Police-Fire Oversight Committee will make sure the town explores any cost savings that are available.

"People are obviously concerned with the cost, and with the tax impact. Our intention is to exercise due diligence to make sure the scope of the project is proportionate to our ability to pay," Gartenstein said. ""We have significant challenges as we move forward with this."

The deadline for applying for the seven-member Police-Fire Oversight Committee was March 22.

Town Manager Executive Secretary Jan Anderson said the board received more than seven letters of interest and the board will interview candidates at its next meeting, and possibly appoint the board members that night.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. You can follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.


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