Town Meeting 2016: Arsenault elected clerk in Vernon
VERNON >> Tim "Johnson" Arsenault, whose voice is known to many for his former job as WTSA's news director, was elected town clerk Tuesday. He beat out Nancy Gassett, who was serving as a town clerk's assistant, and Melissa Ferris.
"I'm really excited," Johnson said after answering the phone at the clerk's office. "This is something I want to do because, quite frankly, I'm giving a positive attitude to our community and making sure that we are feeling good about ourselves as we transition into life beyond Vermont Yankee."
The closure of the nuclear plant has tax implications for residents. They are facing difficult decisions around services and budgeting.
Arsenault said he was in the office at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday after taking his oath at midnight. Vernon election results were in shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday.
Arsenault received 593 votes compared with Gassett's 115 and Ferris' 156.
"I think a larger-than-normal turnout happened this time around," Arsenault said. "There really were a lot of people who either knew me or knew my record and they were happy to back me. I'm very touched."
The race drew attention due to concerns around Gassett and her co-workers' decision to include an endorsement for Gassett inside the clerk's report which was delivered to every household in Vernon as part of the Town Report. At Vernon's annual Town Meeting held Monday, residents either had to rip out the page containing the clerk's report or use a supplement handed out at the door.
Arsenault reappointed Aina Lindquist as an assistant. She was an assistant clerk who turned acting clerk after elected town clerk Susan Miller was out longer than expected due to health issues.
"(Lindquist) is invaluable in helping me learn my way around the office," said Arsenault. "The bottom line is today and moving forward is a new day. We are trying to do what I set out to do when I filed my candidate papers."
That, he said, is to provide "customer service and communication at its highest levels" while making sure the office is handled in an ethical manner. He plans on working as hard as the citizens do.
"They're working their butts off to pay their taxes," he said.
Sandy Harris was re-elected to the Selectboard for a three-year term. She was running against Bronna Zlochiver, who also lost in a race for a three-year seat to Josh Unruh. Last year, Unruh was appointed to the board after some board members had resigned.
Stephen Skibnowsky will join the board for a two-year seat.
Also elected were Marylynn Scherlin for delinquent tax collector and school director, Peter Crossman for first constable, Scott Lane for second constable, Nancy Howe for grand juror and town agent, Carol Hammond for three-year term as a lister, Walter Breau for school director, and Cindy Turnley for treasurer.
Contact Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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