Hinesburg selectboard appoints new Conservation Commission members

Because of a resignation and a slew of new appointments, the Hinesburg Conservation Commission is welcoming new faces to its ranks. Chairman Merrily Lovell resigned last Friday and during the last several weeks, the Selectboard appointed new members to fill vacancies.

“I did resign on Good Friday,” said Lovell. “It wasn’t easy. I just couldn’t be on the Selectboard and the Conservation Commission.”

A vacancy on the board existed at the time of Lovell’s resignation. Her decision to leave the commission created another vacancy. Members serve four-year terms.

During Monday’s Selectboard meeting, the board appointed Katherine Kelly, with a term up Jan. 1, 2020, and George LeClair, whose term expires Jan. 1, 2019.
During the April 3 Selectboard meeting, Marie Ayer, Michael Bissonette, Bill Baker, and Stacy Riley won appointments to the commission. Each applicant went before the Selectboard, explaining what prompted them to seek a seat on the conservation group.

Ayer is a teacher at the Richmond Elementary School, Baker and Riley currently serve on the Hinesburg Community School school board, and Bissonette noted that he is anxious to once again serve the community. A former Selectboard member, he was ousted by Lovell, losing to her during March Town Meeting voting.

Ayer’s term lasts until Jan. 1, 2021; Baker’s runs to Jan. 1, 2018; Bissonnette’s lasts until Jan. 1, 2019; and Riley’s term is up Jan. 1, 2020, according to the town web site.

Because of her then-membership and chairmanship on the Conservation Commission, Lovell stepped away from the table during the Selectboard meeting earlier this month. Selectboard member Tom Ayer recused himself from voting on his wife Marie Ayer’s application.

In 1989, the Conservation Commission formed and state statues say that three to nine members can sit on the panel. The Selectboard decided 28 years ago to appoint nine members to the group.

Earlier this spring, the commission discussed and voted on reducing its membership from nine to five members.

The Selectboard never voted on the matter, said Hinesburg Special Projects Coordinator Renae Marshall. Because the board created the nine-member commission, only Selectboard members can change the group’s composition, Marshall said.

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