The town will be holding a special election sometime in August to fill vacancies on the selectboard, school board, and in the listers office.
Lori O’Hern has stepped down from her elected posts on the school board and the listers office to take the administrative assistant position at Dover School. She replaced longtime assistant Helen Brown.
O’Hern served two years on the school board and was elected to a three-year lister term in March.
Sherm Jenne has resigned from the selectboard because he is relocating out of the area. He was elected to the selectboard in March. He also served as one of Dover’s representatives to the Bitown Economic Development Committee.
O’Hern noted some important achievements by the listers during her time on the board. “The most important thing the board of listers accomplished during my term,” she said, “was the work that Alice Veraguth, chair, and Jim Boyle, assessor, did to convince the state to revisit Dover school district’s common level of appraisal. Due to their petition, the state revisited sales and favorably adjusted the percentage for Dover from .92 to .98 in 2011. The CLA for 2012 is .99, which means that property assessments are at 99% of fair market value.”
O’Hern also noted some work ahead, saying the biggest challenge facing listers is to make sure appraisal rates mirror current market values. She encouraged property owners to make sure their assessments are accurate and up to date.
Jenne, who is moving to Indiana, said he was proud of what the selectboard accomplished.
“We did quite a bit in a short period of time” he said. “It was great working with the highway department. Bobby Holland’s done a great job. I see the economic development going well, too. Ken (Black) and Linda (Anelli) have accomplished a lot. They’ve done an outstanding job as part-time staff. “
Jenne also said the board, and the town, will face some challenges in the future. “I think we need younger people to get involved. To do that we may need to up the amount members are compensated. Maybe we can up the amount to $3,000. That might get some younger folks interested.”
Jenne passed on a word of advice to potential candidates. “When somebody gets on the board, they need to be a team player,” he said. “Some people run their own agenda. That’s not going to work.”
Jenne also thanked voters for their support. “I’m sorry I let you down, but I’ve got some battles I have to deal with. I love Vermont, and will always have a place in my heart for it.”
Recounting her time on the Dover School Board, O’Hern noted one particular accomplishment.
“The state’s education funding system and local impacts on educational opportunities are an ongoing challenge for Dover’s school board,” said O’Hern. “This year it’s been rewarding for me to see positive forward movement regarding this issue. I appreciate the efforts that Laura Sibilia, Dover school board member, has put into commissioning a study looking at the relationship between tax rates and educational opportunity, and hiring a lobbying firm to push for legislative action. Ultimately, this has led to the formation of a legislative study group which may change opinions on education funding.”
O’Hern said she was also pleased with the new after-school program launched this past school year, and with the prospects of the school building being used more as a community center during non-school hours. “I would encourage the board to continuing partnering with the town of Dover,” she said, “to hold community events like Green Up Day and Dover Day, which is also a great way to utilize the school. “
Scott Wilson has been appointed as an interim school director, to temporarily fill O’Hern’s position. Vermont statute requires the post be filled within 30 days. Wilson expressed an interest, and was appointed at the June 19 meeting. But he will have to run for election to fill the seat permanently. Wilson is a longtime Dover resident and a fifth-grade teacher at Deerfield Valley Elementary School in Wilmington.
Wilson, who submitted a letter to the school board expressing his interest in the opening, was unavailable for comment.
Town clerk Andy McLain said state statute requires school boards to appoint an interim school director within 30 days of any resignation. “The law is more vague when it comes to towns,” he added. “It doesn’t specify 30 days.”
McLain added that petitions are available from his office for any potential candidates. Anyone interested running for the position must submit a petition signed by at least 11 registered voters, or 1% of the town’s voters. Any candidate must also be a resident and a registered voter in the town.
The selectboard is targeting August 28, the same day as the Vermont presidential primary, as the special election date. The school board needs to sign off on the date before it can be warned. The deadline for filing nominating petitions will also be set when the election date is approved. Voters will choose by Australian ballot.