Why I’m running for board president
I have been asked numerous times since last week’s article in the Rutland Herald why I have chosen to run for the presidency of the Board of Aldermen.
Among other responsibilities, the president of the board of alderman essentially serves as the public face and contact person for the board.
Any interaction between the board and state government, business groups, and other parties interested in aldermanic action is, for very valid reasons, almost always channeled through the board president.
This gives whoever sits in the president’s chair an unparalleled opportunity to make connections and build a larger base of knowledge; in sum it gives whoever sits in the president’s chair the opportunity to become a much better alderman.
Our current president is running for an eighth consecutive term. While I do not want to downplay the significant investment of time and energy David Allaire has made to the Board of Aldermen and the city of Rutland over his many years in office, I do feel very strongly that giving Mr. Allaire another term as president would be a mistake.
Rutland City is fortunate to have a very strong legislative body comprised of many dedicated and intelligent aldermen. Given this, I feel very strongly that concentrating the knowledge and experience that comes with serving as president into a single member for nearly a decade makes for a weaker board, less able to work for the good of Rutland.
If David Allaire had been successful in his recent run for mayor, all of his knowledge and connections as the only president almost all of our current aldermen have served under would have moved with him from the legislative to the executive side of city government — this does not make for a healthy system of checks and balances.
And even with Mr. Allaire remaining with us, I would argue that for the Board of Aldermen to function at its most effective, the best scenario would be a rotating presidency with no alderman holding the chair for more than two or three consecutive years.
This would give numerous aldermen the opportunity to make the connections and build the knowledge base that would make them more effective in their efforts for Rutland City. We would have stronger, more experienced committee chairmen and a Board of Aldermen with an overall better big picture understanding.
This would be to the immense benefit of the citizens of Rutland City; it is why I believe it would be best if Mr. Allaire did not retain the presidency this year; and it is why if I am elected board president I pledge not to hold the chair for longer than two consecutive terms. I simply believe the time has come to share the wealth.
Last year when we also ran against each other for the presidency, I met with Mr. Allaire and he looked me in the eyes and told me that was going to be his final year as president and that he had no concerns with the idea of my serving as president after that. At the risk of sounding cynical, I am uncertain what has changed since that meeting other than the fact that Mr. Allaire was unsuccessful in his run for mayor.
The people of Rutland City deserve a president of the Board of Aldermen who is committed to working to make the entire board as strong and as effective as possible. The people of Rutland City deserve a Board of Aldermen in which valuable experience and opportunities are shared among members, making for a much stronger and effective group.
To be perfectly honest, the people of Rutland City do not deserve an entrenched president elected to the chair for an unprecedented eighth term. The people of Rutland City do not deserve a president who clearly views the job as Plan B.
And that is why I am running for the presidency of the Board of Aldermen. I love Rutland City and when the time eventually comes for me to leave the Board of Aldermen behind I want very desperately to leave it a much stronger, more well-balanced group than it is now.
I am running because I believe electing a new president now will continue to move Rutland City forward and will help to prepare the board of alderman to better address the numerous challenges the city faces over the coming years.
William Notte is a Rutland City alderman.