Each year, the Milton Independent poses questions to candidates seeking elected office to better inform voters.

This year, only one candidate each emerged for the town clerk and treasurer positions. Incumbents Sheryl Prince and John Gifford filed petitions to run for clerk and treasurer, respectively. Both are seeking a three-year position.

We asked the candidates three questions and asked them to provide a short bio with their responses. They were each given 300 words to split between the questions.

Both were asked the first two questions; the third differed for each office.

1. Why are you running for this position, and why are you qualified for it?

2. What is your position’s most important function, and why?

3. For treasurer: What is the biggest issue facing your office currently, and how are you addressing it?

For clerk: There’s been a lot of discussion nationwide about election integrity and hacking. Are these concerns valid? Explain why or why not.

Editor’s note: Responses have only been edited for AP style.

John Gifford

Incumbent

Seeking three-year seat, unopposed

Bio

Retired military officer

• Retired school business manager

• Former selectboard member

• Incumbent town treasurer

My military service taught me a lot about attention to detail, the little things make big differences. My school experience allowed me to learn about how to steward well the public finances for school districts. My selectboard experience showed how the structure of the municipal government works together. The office of town treasurer is a capstone experience. The role of the town treasurer is to ensure that the town and school funds are invested in accordance with board policy and remain safe, it is my function to inform both the school and town selectboard about how much money is in the bank and available to spend. I watch for trends to see if the bank balances are lower than normal for any month in the fiscal year.

1. The position known as “town treasurer” is also the school’s treasurer. I have a background in both the town and the school’s functions. That qualifies me for the position. The current configuration of the town treasurer position is a part time role. With my background, and current life situation that is perfect for me and a good match for the town and school.

2. The safe keeping and accounting for town funds. The town treasurer must monitor the various bank accounts for both the town and school to be sure the funds are safe and earning as much interest as possible considering a zero tolerance to risk. The town treasurer does not report to either board but rather to the voters of the town. This is important to ensure that transparency is maintained.

3. The office of the town treasurer is a function like a utility, it’s either working or not. Currently and for the past many years this office has functioned without the loss of any money. The town and school’s funds are safe. We always look for more efficient ways of doing this job, however, never make any change without ensuring that the primary function, the safekeeping of the town’s funds, is maintained.

Sheryl Prince

Incumbent

Seeking three-year seat, unopposed

Bio

Lifelong Milton resident, graduating from MHS in 1979 and Champlain College in 1981.

Married to Ron Prince Jr. and together have raised two children in this town. Daughter Jennifer is married and living and teaching in Florida. Son Paul is an electrical engineer. We have two beautiful grandchildren.

Prior to being elected as town clerk, I was the assistant town clerk for four years. Prior to that, I worked full time in the Milton School District for 19 years and part-time for the Milton Public Library for six years.

1. I am running for re-election for town clerk because I not only enjoy what I do, but I love having the opportunity to be able to work for and give back to the community that I live in and have grown up in. I have deep family roots in this town, and I have found it an honor and a privilege to serve in this capacity for the past three years. I hope that with the voters support I will be able to continue for the next three.

2. As town clerk, I oversee many tasks, from maintaining the town’s land records, and vital records to running elections. Many important aspects of the position are done on a daily basis. However, among all the duties involved in being a town clerk, I feel that the most important function is building positive relationships with our town residents, and creating a welcoming environment within our office. The town clerks office is often the first place a person goes to for help or information about our town. When a resident walks through the main door, I want them to know that we are here to listen to them and to help them in any way we can, and if we are unable to help them, then we will do our best to find someone who can.

3. Election integrity and hacking are valid concerns that have surfaced and have been in the spotlight in most recent elections. These issues are seen possibly more so in urban areas, but the probability of it happening in a rural area such as Milton still exists. Checklists must be maintained and voter registrations have to be verified. Now with the implementation of the state’s new same day voter registration system that has gone into effect, it has become an even greater challenge for election officials to maintain the integrity of each election, but it is a task that must be done in order to establish fair and honest results.

I would like to thank the voters for this opportunity and for their consideration.