Killington Petition Aims To Abolish Town Manager Position

04/03/12 7:34AM

Some residents in Killington want to abolish their town manager form of government, saying the current town manager lacks experience and his salary is too high.

Last month, 52 residents signed a petition asking voters if they want to authorize the Select Board to effectively revoke the town manager form of government.

Killington has had a town manager for more than 30 years.

Chris Bianchi chairs Killington's Select Board. He believes many people didn't even understand the petition they were signing.

"We had eight or nine people that asked the Town Clerk to withdraw their name from the petition once they understood what it was about," Bianchi said in a phone interview.

Many towns in Vermont hire town administrators to run the operations of the town. And so if its town manager system were eliminated, Killington's three-member Select Board would have to become much more involved in day-to-day business.

State statutes give town governments 15 days to act on a petition. Chris Bianchi says, for now, Killington's Select Board has voted to table this one.

"Clearly all three select board members do not support this petition," Bianchi said. "We would vote to keep the town manager form of government. We understand what it takes to run this town, and we believe in the town manager form of government that we've had for quite some time."

Bianchi says there are a small number of people in town who don't agree with the process the Select Board took in hiring the current town manager, and that they're now trying other mechanisms to change that decision.

He says it's a distraction from more important issues facing the town, such as recovering from Tropical Storm Irene flooding and from a difficult business year.

Killington's Select Board will meet Wednesday to discuss the citizen petition that calls for abolishing its town manager form of government, and a town-wide vote is expected early next month.

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