Town Meeting petitions finalized

Milton school trustee Michael Boisjoli decided not to seek office in 2016 at the last minute. (Photo by Courtney Lamdin)

Milton school trustee Michael Boisjoli decided not to seek office in 2016 at the last minute. (Photo by Courtney Lamdin)

Milton voters might see a few surprises when they elect school trustees this Town Meeting.

Michael Boisjoli announced his run for a one-year seat just two weeks ago but never turned in his completed petition, he confirmed Monday night. The deadline was January 25 at 5 p.m.

Separately, incumbent Rae Couillard and newcomer DeWayne Nolan-Watkins, spouse of a Milton principal, are both running for the board’s two- and three-year terms.

When Boisjoli was elected last June to finish the late Jim Lyons’ term, he only planned to serve until March. He recently changed his mind and then apparently reversed course again after seeing his own quotes in the Indy about serving one last year before he moves to Alburgh.

“I was like, ‘Why would I want to spend my last year in Milton and not enjoy it?’” Boisjoli said.

Boisjoli wanted to address Milton High School maintenance issues but said Monday night those problems are well-documented and just need to be completed.

His supporters may be disappointed, but “at the end of the day, it’s about me,” Boisjoli said. “I want to be able to walk into stores and shop freely and smile and not have to explain or defend a position, not to be complimented or criticized.”

That leaves the one-year spot open. At press time, various state and local officials disagreed whether this would be considered a vacancy, to which the new board could appoint someone on the next ballot.

To avoid any confusion, a write-in candidate could campaign for the seat, only needing 30 votes, assistant treasurer Paulette LaFond said.

Otherwise, there’s the potential for two empty seats if one candidate wins both the two and three-year seats. Candidates can seek any number of compatible elected offices but can only hold one, said Will Senning, director of the Vermont Secretary of State’s elections division.

School trustee Karen LaFond won't seek re-election in order to spend more time with family. (Photo by Courtney Lamdin)

School trustee Karen LaFond won’t seek re-election in order to spend more time with family. (Photo by Courtney Lamdin)

If elected to both, either Couillard or Nolan-Watkins could accept one and resign from the other, leaving it open for appointment until the next ballot, Senning said.

Also in school board news, incumbent trustee Karen LaFond announced she’s not running for re-election to spend more time with her young children.

“I’m putting my family first, but expect to see me,” she said. “I’m not going away quietly.”

On the selectboard side, there’s a competition for two of three positions.

After being somewhat unsure, incumbent John Cushing filed for one of two one-year seats, as did retired Milton police Sgt. John Palasik and Chris Taylor. The latter candidate lost his bid for a one-year seat in 2014.

Incumbent Ken Nolan and Brenda Steady are both running for the lone three-year seat. Last Town Meeting, Nolan unseated then-incumbent Steady from her one-year spot.

John Bartlett, a selectman since November 2010, is running uncontested for the remaining two years of Stu King’s vacated three-year seat.

Incumbents Gail Wixson and Roger Hunt are seeking another term on the library board of trustees and Champlain Water District, respectively.

In Georgia, there were few surprises.

As they indicated, all school board incumbents – Ben Chiappinelli, Kate Barnes and Meghan Sweeney – are running for one three-year and two one-year seats, respectively.

Voters will choose between incumbents Paul Jansen and Tara Wright and challenger David Vincent for two one-year spots on the selectboard. Meanwhile, current chairman Chris Letourneau is seeking three more years, uncontested.

Only one person – newcomer Margo Coy – is running for the library board, leaving two one-year spots completely open. The selectboard accepted trustee James Allen’s resignation at its meeting Monday night.

Both planning commission incumbents, Tara King and Tony Heinlein, are running again for a four-year and one-year position, respectively.

Stay tuned to the Milton Independent for candidate Q&As in February, prior to the March vote.

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