An open response to Mike Bissonette’s letter (of March 16) and to the voters of Hinesburg — Merrily Lovell

First, I would like to thank the many voters of Hinesburg who came out on the wet, cold Tuesday of March 7 to vote. I want to thank both those who voted for me and those who did not.

Mike, I am sorry that my words, spoken in exhausted surprise upon hearing the results that Tuesday night, confused you. It did not take me long to adjust and accept my new position. I am grateful, humbled, and honored to have been elected to the Hinesburg Selectboard. Thank you, Mike, for your helpful advice. I know you worked hard for many years on the Selectboard and know what the job entails. I intend to work hard too, and have already begun to do so.

I was grateful to be able to spend the full day last Saturday in Montpelier attending the Spring Selectboard Institute put on by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

I learned much, and I know I have much more to learn. We learned that Selectboards are responsible for the general supervision of a town’s affairs. They are specifically responsible for roads, water and sewer, zoning, and recreation. I learned more about roads, and realized how much more there is to know about roads than I had previously been aware.

I learned about legislative bills of interest to local governments in Vermont. There were very helpful, informative presentations on the Open Meeting Law and Conflicts of Interest, where I learned that a seemingly simple law can quickly get complicated when applied to specific situations.

The Vermont League of Cities and Towns is a very helpful resource that I am sure I will rely on whenever I need to deepen my understanding of an issue. I created a thick notebook for the Monday, March 20 Selectboard meeting and am going over the many pages of background information put together by Trevor.

In closing, I want to share one of the phrases I copied into my notes from the Open Meeting Law presentation because it put into clear words what I have been thinking every day since the election.

Garret Baxter, Senior Staff Attorney for VLCT, paraphrased the state law in reminding us that “Selectboard members are trustees and servants of the people and are at all times accountable to them.” I am fully committed to working for you, the voters of Hinesburg, and to being fully accountable to you at all times. Please feel free to contact me if you ever feel that I am not doing the job for which I was elected.

Sincerely, Merrily Lovell
Hinesburg

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