Zeoli, LaFiandra vie for interim selectboard position

MIDDLEBURY — In addition to approving the 2014 town meeting warning, the Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday accepted the nominations of residents Ann LaFiandra and Chris Zeoli to fill a short, interim stint on the selectboard.
The vacancy was created by the Jan. 2 resignation of Selectman Victor Nuovo.
The board on Feb. 11 will pick either Zeoli or LaFiandra to serve on the board until Town Meeting Day. Eight people have filed petition papers to run for a combined total of three selectboard positions up for grabs on March 4 (see related stories on Page 1A).
Neither Zeoli nor LaFiandra will be running on March 4, a condition the selectboard had placed on those seeking the interim post.
In other action at Tuesday’s meeting, Middlebury selectboard members:
•  Unanimously picked Zeoli to serve as the town’s new tree warden.
•  Selected Foster Motors to supply two new police cruisers for the total price of $51,376. Police Chief Tom Hanley said there were three bidders for the contract, and the Foster Motors submission was a few hundred dollars higher than the lowest bid, provided by a Massachusetts-based dealership. Hanley recommended — and board members agreed — to pick Foster Motors given its ability to provide local service for the vehicles.
•  Accepted, with regret, the resignation of Connie Leach from the Middlebury Business Development Fund Advisory Board. The selectboard is seeking letters of interest from people interested in replacing Leach, and plan to make an appointment soon after Town Meeting Day.
•  Unanimously granted Middlebury College “blanket approval” for serving alcohol at catered events on campus this year.
• Reviewed the latest draft of a revised conflict-of-interest policy for elected municipal officials. The policy is based on a template provided by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. The town has sought to update its current policy in light of recent citizen complaints filed against two board members having ties to Middlebury College. Selectwoman Susan Shashok’s spouse worked for a company partly owned by the college while Nuovo holds the title of professor emeritus of philosophy with the college. Both officials at one time were challenged for discussing and voting on college-related issues coming before the board. Shashok’s husband, Alan, no longer works for Middlebury Interactive Languages, while Nuovo resigned from the board.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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