Louras names choice to fill empty board seat
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | April 08,2014
Mayor Christopher Louras said his nominee to fill John Cassarino’s seat on the Board of Aldermen has made it clear she loves the city.
Cassarino said his resignation last month was because of health reasons. Monday, Louras put forward city resident and West Rutland School English teacher Abby Brodowski to fill out the remaining year of Cassarino’s term. Louras said Brodowski came to his attention because of an essay she wrote for the Rutland Herald’s “I Heart Rutland” series, published in December.
“Following up with her and based on the fact that she is passionate, positive and an extremely bright, independent thinker, I determined she was a perfect fit for the board,” Louras said. “I am delighted she accepted the nomination.”
Brodowski, 32, is originally from South Park, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh. She said she has been in Vermont for a decade and has owned a house in Rutland for two years.
“It hadn’t really been on my radar,” she said of serving on the board. “I’m interested, certainly, in the future of the city.”
When Louras approached her, Brodowski said, she thought about what taking on such an official role would mean.
“For me, it has a lot to do with being an active participant in the city,” she said, explaining that everywhere she has gone, she has had an interest in improving the community. “To do that, being part of the system is the way you have to go. ... I think the future here can be really, powerfully bright, but we have to have the right people in the right places to make that happen.”
In her essay, Brodowski wrote she “despised” Rutland when she arrived in Vermont and never pictured herself buying a home and raising a child here. She said falling in love with a Rutland native helped open her eyes to Rutland’s possibilities.
“We finally have choices, and we can actively choose a better city, or we can gripe about the one that isn’t,” she wrote. “We can listen to the dirty detractors, or we can defend our town as the working person’s laid-back small city with lovely architecture that it is. The choice is ours.”
Louras said he was approached by about half a dozen people interested in the position, and he reached out to four people himself.
“The ones I approached, I asked if they wanted to be on the short list,” he said. “Some of those individuals, while extremely interested, couldn’t commit at this time. I hope they will be able to commit in the future.”
Louras said he discussed no policy specifics with Brodowski, and was most moved by his impression of her as an independent thinker.
“Not only do I not expect, but I insist that she not follow my lead, but draw her own conclusions,” Louras said.
Mayoral appointments are typically tabled until the next regular meeting, giving board members a chance to speak with the candidate. Seven “no” votes are needed to overturn a mayoral appointment.