VERGENNES — Vergennes Mayor Michael Daniels made official in a Wednesday phone interview what he hinted at during last Tuesday’s city council meeting: He will not run again for his office next March.
“I am stepping down,” Daniels said on May 23. “I am going to stay active in the community in some way, shape or matter ... But unless something changes drastically, I am not running again next year ... I’m still having fun, but it’s time for a fresh set of eyes.”
Daniels, who manages two dozen buildings and 40 employees for the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services, has served as mayor since 2007, when he unseated incumbent April Jin, 260-175. Daniels is a four-decade member of the Vergennes Fire Department, a retired Vermont Army National Guard sergeant, and earlier during the past decade had served on the city council.
Daniels said any credit for what city government achieved during his so-far five-plus years in office is widely shared.
“They’re not my accomplishments. It’s the community, the members of the council, and (City Manager) Mel (Hawley) and (City Clerk) Joan’s (Devine) accomplishments,” he said. “I plant a lot of seeds. If they grow, that’s fine.”
At the May 22 city council meeting, Daniels had given advice to any aldermen interested in running for mayor in the future, while citing the solid support he said he had received from his wife, Judi.
“When anybody decides to run for mayor, you need to know ... it takes two people to make it work,” he said.
Daniels made that remark at the conclusion of the council’s annual goal-setting session, which he said impressed him.
“I like some of the enthusiasm of the new board as far as the goals presented last night,” he said. “I like some of the momentum going right now.”
Of course, Daniels said setting goals is one thing, while achieving them is another.
“If I make it known (he is not running again) now, I hope other people in the council will start showing their true colors and showing what they can do,” he said. “If they want to get my vote, show me.”
Meanwhile, Daniels said he would make sure to achieve his own goals for his final 10 months as mayor, the most important of which he listed on Tuesday as visiting every business in Vergennes in an effort to improve communications between the private sector and city hall.
“I’m not coasting to the end,” he said. “I’m trying to do the photo finish this year. I’m going to work hard at it.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.