Citing votes, town official to step down from panel

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Selectwoman Susan Shashok will step down from the town’s Parks & Recreation Committee next March, a decision she has made to underscore her displeasure with the site selection process for a new municipal recreation center.
Shashok was candid last week in her criticism of the process that led to the selection of a 2.4-acre parcel off Creek Road as the preferred site for a new, 11,500-square-foot recreation center. The Town Offices & Recreation Facilities Steering Committee and selectboard both voted in favor of the Creek Road site (over an alternative Mary Hogan Drive site) on Tuesday, Dec. 17. Shashok was angry those two votes had occurred before Jan. 2, when the Parks & Recreation Committee was slated to review both sites and issue feedback.
Shashok expressed her displeasure to her colleagues at the Dec. 17 selectboard meeting and then provided written confirmation of her decision to leave the Parks & Recreation Committee.
“My public service career has always included thoughtful collaboration and consensus building processes,” Shashok wrote of her decision. “I’ve proven my skills in these areas and they are what helped me get elected to the selectboard in the first place. I am no longer proud to present this (recreation facility) project to the voters, not because of the land deal issue (I am very open to the town office moving) or one site for the rec facility over another (they both have positives and negatives to offer). It’s the fact that this process has been collaborative for some participants but has taken a very common downturn into a zero-sum game for others, despite my best efforts.”
Shashok said she will remain on the committee until Town Meeting Day and will then seek reassignment to a different panel.

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