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Ferrisburgh elects Warden as town clerk, Smits as treasurer

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents in Town Meeting Day Australian balloting at Ferrisburgh Central School elected a new town clerk and treasurer, one of them a successful write-in candidate.
Write-in candidate Gloria Warden scored a decisive victory in the town clerk race, outpolling David Hawkins, 470-226. Hawkins, an Army National Guard sergeant and United Technology Corp. employee, is the grandson of outgoing clerk Chet Hawkins.
Warden also ran for treasurer as a write-in candidate, but lost a close race to another political newcomer who was on the ballot, Garrit Smits, 350-332.
Warden, 65, moved to Ferrisburgh 26 years ago, when she also began working in Charlotte’s town offices. She began there as an assistant treasurer, but soon moved into the town’s planning and zoning office, where she now works 35 hours a week and is the first person who meets residents with new proposals.
She is also the clerk of the zoning board, has helped maintain the town’s website and served as the town’s wellness and 911 coordinators, and in the 1990s completed Champlain College’s business certificate program.
In Ferrisburgh, Warden served for nine years on the planning commission in the 1990s and has also been a member of the town’s recreation committee.
Warden’s husband, Jim Warden, who won an uncontested race for re-election on Tuesday, had said he would step down from the selectboard after many years of service if she won office.
Smits, an Addison native, moved to Ferrisburgh 10 years ago. He has two bachelor’s degrees from Champlain College, one in business administration that he earned in 2004, and one in accounting that he earned in 2012 after years of part-time study.
Currently, he is self-employed as an accountant, does tax preparation, and has kept books for several firms. Smits also works part-time in the Ferrisburgh Post Office and has been the assistant treasurer for the Ferrisburgh Methodist Church.
Smits was the only applicant for the post of Ferrisburgh assistant treasurer when it was advertised late in 2013, but the selectboard opted not to act on the position before Town Meeting Day.
Both will work 20 hours a week under the budget approved by voters on Tuesday (see related story), although the selectboard put in a contingency fund in case it is necessary to increase their hours. Assistant clerk and treasurer Pam Cousino will continue to work full-time.
Outgoing Town Clerk and Treasurer Chet Hawkins will retain his post as delinquent tax collector but will retire from his combined fulltime job. Hawkins was honored by Reps. Warren Van Wyck and Diane Lanpher at Tuesday’s meeting. Van Wyck read a joint House-Senate resolution they sponsored lauding Hawkins’ 35 years of service to Ferrisburgh, and Hawkins received a standing ovation.
Although there were no other contested races in Ferrisburgh, there will be new town school directors.
George Gardner, a North Ferrisburgh resident, earned a two-year seat on the FCS board as a newcomer. Running unopposed for another three years on the FCS board was incumbent Chris Kayhart.
Laurie Gutowski, Ferrisburgh’s longtime representative on the VUHS board, stepped down. No one filed for her seat, and the selectboard will appoint someone for a one-year term on that board.
Another incumbent selectman also ran unopposed for re-election: Steve Gutowski received a two-year term.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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