Wednesday November 21, 2012
The election season, replete with thorny issues and incessant ads, has finally come to a close. Whether you were elated or disappointed with how your chosen candidates fared in this year’s races, the results are in, and South Burlington voters certainly made their voices heard on the most contentious articles on the City’s ballot.
Despite the redistricting this year, according to City Clerk Donna Kinville, “The only issue that arose was they split half of Elsom Pkwy and put it in one district, and the other half in a different district. The legislature quite understood that it was part of Mayfair Park and in the same fire district.”
Kinville added, “Our election turnout was good and was average for a presidential election.”
2012 9,497 votes cast 2,722 absentees cast
2008 9,995 votes cast 3,652 absentees cast
2004 9,089 votes cast 1,830 absentees cast
“Absentee ballots have grown dramatically over the years and we foresee it continuing to increase. [We’re] not sure why they were down from four years ago.” Kinville said. “The number of active voters vs. total voters changed a lot over the years. The Board of Civil Authority decided to do a comprehensive verification of questionable voters–people who moved or hadn’t voted in years–and over the years, we have worked very hard [at] making sure that we do ‘challenge’ voters who have sold property or haven’t voted for a few years. That larger number in 2004 and 2008 vs. 2012 means that we have been taking people off of the voter list when they notify our office.”
Returning State Representatives Michele Kupersmith (7-1), Ann Pugh (7-2), and Helen Head (7-3) will be joined by newly elected Representative Maida Townsend (7-4) this year in Montpelier.
Article I, regarding the South Burlington Community Library becoming a department of the City of South Burlington, passed with 72.8% (5,975) voting for it and 2,231 against. Therefore, this item will go to the state legislature where they decide what to do next.
Article II, which would have made the City Clerk an appointed position effective in March 2014 failed. 50.3% (4,055) voted against this and 49.7% (4,009) voted for it. City Council Chair Rosanne Greco said, “The Council only proposed article II as a response to article III, because we wanted to protect our city employees and to have supervision over the collection of taxpayer money. We repeatedly asked the clerk to drop her proposal, and thus keep our current process in place, but she declined. So we put forward the proposal (article II) to move toward an appointed clerk in order to protect our people and our money.”
”With the approval of article III, the Council is concerned for the people who work in the clerk’s office. If approved by the state, these employees can now be fired, as they no longer will be protected under collective-bargaining rights. Likewise, if approved by the state, there will be no supervision and no oversight of the collection of millions of dollars taken in by the clerk’s office” Greco added.
Article III, which would keep the Clerk an elected, three-year position with all of the corresponding powers and duties granted under state law, passed with a significant margin: 73.1% (5,852) voted for it and 26.9% (2,150) voted against.
According to Kinville, “Until the legislature meets again and brings up the charter issue, state statutes (laws) haven’t changed, and things remain the same. I am hoping that our local state representatives or Chittenden County Senators will have this ready to go as soon as the new legislative session starts and can push it along with an immediate start date once approved by the Governor.”
“I truly believe that the citizens of the city are better served with an elected City Clerk than an appointed one, and the citizens confirmed my belief with an impressive 73% approval rating for Article III. As an elected official, I asked the question and then listened to what the citizens wanted. That is why I proceeded with the petition which ultimately became Article III.”
“I would like to thank the citizens of South Burlington for the support that they have shown throughout this process. They were the ones who gave me the courage to proceed to fight on their behalf, especially during the tough times of this long journey.”
Correspondent: Corey Burdick