Fluoride Action Network

Rutland needs someone to fill Alderman seat

Source: Rutland Herald | April 6th, 2018 | By Patrick McArdle, Staff writer
Location: United States, Vermont

Deciding who will be the next member of the Board of Aldermen will be up to Mayor David Allaire — who will name a candidate — and the aldermen, who must approve the nominee. But at least one recent candidate has expressed an interest.

Earlier this week, Tim Cook announced he would resign from the board, effective Tuesday. Cook, a medical doctor and reservist in the U.S. Army, said he needed time to work on changes he is making to his medical practice in Rutland. He will also spend some time at Fort Devens in Massachusetts as deputy commander of clinical services for a field hospital.

Under Rutland’s bylaws, the mayor proposes an appointee and the Board of Aldermen decides whether they will approve that choice. The appointed alderman typically serves until the next election, rather than the remainder of the term. In this case, Cook’s term would have been up in March 2019.

Rutland mayors have been called on to fill positions on the board before, but this time could be different. Cook’s resignation came less than a month after Town Meeting Day, when 10 candidates ran for five open seats on the board.

This will be the second appointment Allaire will have to make to the aldermen. He was on the board when he was elected as mayor and asked Ed Larson, who had decided not to seek re-election in 2017, to fill out the term.

Allaire said the mayor is not obligated to appoint someone who had previously run for aldermen and he was not limiting consideration to any particular group of people.

“At this point, anyone who would be interested in that position, I would certainly welcome them reaching out to me. Two or three people already have and I hope to sit down with each of those individuals so we can have a chat about why they would be interested and why they think that they would be the right person to serve,” he said.

Jack Crowther, who had the highest number of votes among candidates who failed to win a seat on the board, said he had contacted the mayor this week to say he was still interested in being an alderman. Early on Friday afternoon, Crowther said he was trying to arrange to speak with Allaire on Friday.

Many Rutland residents are aware of Crowther’s strong opposition to fluoridation of the city’s water. He has written editorials and letters to the editor on the subject.

However, Crowther said on Friday, as he did during the campaign, that he would not be a one-issue board member.

“I tried to make it clear that I understood if I had been elected, fluoridation would not occupy any large percentage of the work that I would be taking on,” he said.

Crowther said he has given thought to his own willingness to do the work necessary to be an aldermen.

Sharon Davis, president of the board, said she thought some new members were surprised at the amount of time and effort that goes into serving on the board.

Elected last month to her 14th term on the board, Davis said she had seen other mayoral appointments.

“You look for someone who has the interest to serve the citizens of the city, that really doesn’t have a specific agenda, that is open and willing to just serve and put their time in,” she said.

Davis said when the board gets a nomination from the mayor, it will be tabled until the next meeting, giving the members of the board a chance to speak with the candidate. At the following meeting, members will use the ballot box to cast votes for or against the candidate.

Allaire said if he finds the right candidate, he would like to make a nomination as early as the next meeting, but said he was unwilling to commit to a deadline this early in the process.

John Atwood, who also got about 700 votes when running for the board in March, could not be reached on Friday. The remaining candidates all got less than half the votes received by Crowther and Atwood.

Editor’s note: Jack Crowther is a former editor at the Rutland Herald, though he and the writer of this article never worked together.

*Original article titled Allaire not limiting the field for alderman seat, online at https://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/allaire-not-limiting-the-field-for-alderman-seat/