New chairman vows more civil meetingsBy Darren Marcy
Staff Writer | March 12,2014
CASTLETON — Tom Ettori has had enough of the Select Board chairmanship, so the gavel has been handed over to a newcomer with a history on the board.
The board elected Joe Bruno to be its chairman at an organizational meeting this past week and Bruno promises a no-nonsense approach to running meetings.
Another newcomer to the board, Richard Combs nominated Ettori for the chairmanship, which was seconded by the third new face on the board, Robert Spaulding.
But during the discussion, Ettori said that his schedule didn’t leave him with the time to continue heading the board.
Combs then nominated Bruno, seconded by Spaulding, and the vote was unanimous.
Bruno, Combs and Spaulding have replaced Christine Smith, Wenger Rehlen and Ed O’Shea on the board. Some of the recent board turmoil has centered around Rehlen and Smith.
Bruno said he’ll run a tight ship to control some of the acrimony seen at Select Board meetings recently.
“I’m hoping the meetings are going to be a little more civilized than in the past,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get along even if we don’t agree on everything.”
Bruno said he’ll expect people to wait to be recognized and folks will get one warning before he takes action.
“People in the heat of the moment will say things,” he said. “But I want people to raise their hands and be recognized. If not, I’ll ask the law officer to remove them. I’m not going to allow our meetings to get out of control as they’ve done in the past.”
The Select Board has had a police officer in attendance in recent weeks as tensions have risen at meetings.
Bruno said it doesn’t matter who disrupts the meeting, they’ll be held to the same standard.
“We’re all on the same page,” he said. “We all play by the same rules. I want people to be respectful, whether they agree or disagree. We need to start acting like a community, not adversaries.”
Bruno said the town has important business to take care of, and it’s time to put old battles behind them and make progress in Castleton.
“We’ve been plagued with fighting and arguing on that board,” he said. “We’ve got to make compromises. We need to move forward. United we stand, divided we fall.”
The board also set its meeting schedule to continue at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of each month.
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