Surprise-Surprise-Surprise

Surprise! Selectboard Expands Planning Commission To Nine Members


Submitted a month ago
Created by
norwichobserver

"Bad government" redux?

In an unexpected move, the Selectboard increased the number of seats on the Planning Commission from seven to nine at its November 14 meeting. The decision was taken without advance notice to the public, as expansion was not the agenda. What was on the agenda for the meeting was the appointment of single member to the PC to fill an existing vacancy. 

Portion of Selectboard Agenda for November 14, 2018

The Selectboard received three applications to fill the vacancy. Rather than turn away a well qualified applicant, the Selectboard opted to expand the commission to the statutory maximum of nine members and then appointed all three applicants to the PC. The Selectboard vote was unanimous. 

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My complaint is not with the decision but with the process. Shouldn't the public get advance notice of such action? I criticized the Selectboard on a similar point in the past, calling it "bad government".  Proposed Selectboard Action On Solar Sites Is Bad Government.

The easy fix was to delay the vote until the next meeting. The Selectboard did that in April on the very SAME topic, "in order to give the public more notice,"  SB Agenda: Expansion Of PC By Two Seats. What makes the November situation any different than April?  

The action may violate the letter and certainly violates the spirit of the Open Meeting Law. Under that statute, meeting agendas are to be posted 48 hours in advance. Any "addition to" the agenda "shall be made as the first act of business at the meeting," 1 V.S.A. § 312(d)(3)(A).
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POSTED: 11.18.2018 

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