Cavendish town appointee faces opposition

Cavendish Selectboard. Photo by Sharon Huntley


CAVENDISH, Vt. – Cavendish Selectboard annual organizational meeting began March 11 by welcoming two new members, Stuart Lindberg and Michael Kell, to the board. Kell recently unseated long-serving Selectboard member George Timko during the election. The two join Robert W. Glidden, Sandra Russo and Mike Ripley to complete the board.

As the first meeting after Town Meeting elections, the board proceeded through normal housekeeping details establishing the monthly meeting times again on the first Monday of the month, at 6:30 p.m. Robert Glidden was reappointed as chairman, Mike Ripley was voted as vice chairman and Sandra Russo as clerk. The Selectboard reaffirmed Brendan McNamara as town manager, this time for a five-year term.

McNamara quickly began running through a list of town posts along with the list of appointees for approval, which went smoothly until reaching the appointment for emergency management director. Currently serving that position and awaiting reappointment is Robert C. “Bobby” Glidden, a volunteer fire fighter with the Proctorsville Fire Department. The board had received a letter contesting Bobby Glidden’s appointment but did not discuss specifics of the letter.

McNamara voiced his feeling that “Bobby was more than qualified to man that position.”

Mike Ripley added his willingness to discuss the issue through the course of the year but wanted to have someone qualified in place for now. “If we come to an agreement or see the other side’s point of view maybe we could change it a year from now, but right now I would like to have somebody in place who is aware of some of the protocols that need to get done.”

Lindberg asked if the matter could be discussed in executive session but McNamara said that would need to be warned and they would include it on the next agenda.

Lindberg said he didn’t want to publicly discuss the issue here but added, “I think it’s important to have someone who’s completely impartial towards both departments, to be objective and given this position and not have biases towards any member of…the fire community.”

Ripley said he would agree if this was an everyday position but the emergency management director only comes into play during an emergency on the scale of Hurricane Irene. “What appears to be infighting, childishness, whatever it is, it needs to be put aside in an emergency,” he said.

Glidden’s appointment was approved 3 to 1 with Lindberg as the dissenting vote and Kell abstaining.

Town Manager Brendan McNamara confirmed later that the letter sent to the board came from the Cavendish Fire Department, District 2, citing conflict of interest as their reason for opposing the appointment of Glidden. The letter was received amidst ongoing tension between Proctorsville Fire Department (Fire District 1) and the Cavendish Fire Department (Fire District 2) as contentious talks of a merger are circulating.

The Cavendish Historical Society made a request to place a historic site marker to honor famed Russian author Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn who lived in exile in Cavendish for 18 years and wrote “The Red Wheel” while living here.

Although a project of the Cavendish Historical Society, the request must come from the town, and be submitted to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development who will then consider the request along with the suggested location for the marker and the sign’s proposed verbiage. The CHS is suggesting two possible locations to place the marker: either on the Cavendish Town Green next to the other marker for Phineas Gage or next to the Cavendish Historical Society building. Once approved, the Vermont ACCD will then conduct a site visit to choose the final location.

McNamara expressed concern that with the marker near the Cavendish Town Office on the Cavendish Green, tourists would come into the town office seeking directions to the Solzhenitsyn home, which they would not give. Margo Caulfield, CHS member recommended posting a sign indicating that no one would share that information with visitors, as the CHS has often done.

The town is developing a more comprehensive wastewater ordinance to outline responsibilities of local businesses to mitigate grease and other waste materials that flow into the town water system. There have been recent incidents where grease build up has caused the system to back up, in some cases costing thousands of dollars. McNamara said that with the town’s brand new million-dollar aeration system in place, “having an ordinance that we can enforce and keep tabs on our investment is very, very important.” McNamara hopes to have the ordinance in place by the summer and is putting the ordinance on the front burner since it will require revisions by the board and a public hearing.

The property located at 723 Main St. in Proctorsville will be sold at auction Wednesday, March 27 at the town office. The property is being sold “as is” and must start with a minimum bid of $45,000. The property includes several buildings and is “completely full of furniture.” There will be an open house to view the property on Wednesday, March 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The town office will have a packet of information on the property for interested parties.

Open House for the new town garage is scheduled for Saturday, March 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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