Two seeking Ferrisburgh selectboard seat

FERRISBURGH — Two challengers who would be first-time selectmen, but have civic experience, are contending for one open seat on the Ferrisburgh selectboard.
Dennis Armell and Michael “Red” Muir are seeking to replace Sally Torrey, who will step down after a decade on the selectboard. Torrey, however, will be on the Town Meeting Day ballot in a race for delinquent tax collector with former longtime town clerk Chet Hawkins.
Incumbent Selectman Jim Benoit is also on the ballot, but is running unopposed for a two-year term on the board.
The Independent posed five questions to the two contestants for the three-year seat on the selectboard. The questions and their answers are below:
Q: Please provide basic biographical data, including age, career information, public service background and anything else you believe might be relevant.
ARMELL: “I am 60 years old and have been a resident of Ferrisburgh all of my life. I graduated VUHS in 1972 and went on to a two-year trade school. I joined the Vermont Army National Guard (VTARNG) at 17 years old and will be retiring on Aug. 5, 2015. I worked at a local Ferrisburgh farm for 17 years, then went to an automobile dealership in South Burlington as a department manager for 10 years. From there I went into the VTARNG full time and presently work for VTARNG U.S. Property and Fiscal Office.
In town I have coached baseball, softball and basketball for Ferrisburgh elementary school and VAYL. I am one of the chief instructors for Addison County for the Vermont Fish & Game Hunter Education program and have been teaching for them since the early 1970s. I am a member of the Vergennes American Legion Post 14 and have held officer positions in the post. I have been a member of the Ferrisburgh Conservation Commission for 10-plus years, have worked with the River Watch program and the Lewis Creek Association, and have assisted with many requests for assistance on conservation matters from the Selectboard and planning and zoning boards.”
MUIR: “I am 53 years old, was born in Burlington and grew up in Winooski attending Winooski School District graduating in 1979. Joanne, my wife of 24 years, and I enjoy spending time at our Ferrisburgh farmhouse with our dog, horses, friends and family.”
Q: What motivated you to run for a seat on the selectboard?
MUIR: “I’ve been a member of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 693 since 1980 and president for 10 years. Prior to that I served as vice president and chairman of the executive board for six years. I am a certified pipe welder, a certified welding educator and past-certified welding inspector and am currently employed with A. Cooper Mechanical in Williston. When living in Winooski I served as a volunteer fireman and served one term on the Winooski Zoning Board. Currently I am the Ferrisburgh Fence Viewer and chairman of the Ferrisburgh Building Maintenance Committee.”
ARMELL: “I have run for a selectboard position in the past but was not successful in unseating an incumbent. I have always wanted to be more involved in what is happening in our town. I do not plan on rocking the boat. I think our selectboard has done a great job. But there is always room for improvement, and if elected I look forward to working with all the town’s citizens and boards/commissions to keep things on track.”
Q: Are there specific issues or concerns you would like to address if elected to the board?
ARMELL: “There are concerns that I have. One is keeping spending in check. The selectboard has done a great job, but I think there is room for more trimming of the budget. And we have a couple of pieces of property that we need to find a use for or sell.”
MUIR: “My motivation for running is that I have been attending and participating in Ferrisburgh selectboard meetings for the last three years. I enjoy the type of work the selectboard does and felt that if there was a vacant seat available I would want to run. I believe my profession and experience have given me knowledge that would be a good contribution to the town. I did not want to run against an incumbent because I have respect for each of them and feel they do an outstanding job and have the town’s best interest in mind. If elected, I will strive to maintain this objective.”
Q: Why should the residents of Ferrisburgh vote for you?
MUIR: “Our town of Ferrisburgh is a very special piece of Vermont that is changing and growing, which presents many challenges. I want to be involved to ensure that our beautiful town grows responsibly. This means working within the town plan, adopted zoning map and zoning bylaws. I will work together with the board to keep our town budget at a reasonable level; have a good working relationship with our planning, zoning and school boards; work with our agricultural and business communities to keep Ferrisburgh on the leading edge in Addison County; and be available to hear feedback from our residents.
ARMELL: “As a lifelong resident and a member of the Ferrisburgh Conservation Commission I have worked with the town boards and commissions on many issues and have a good knowledge of where the town wishes to go in the future. I believe that I would be a good fit on the board.”
Q: Is there anything you would like to add?
ARMELL: Since I am retiring (this August) and my plan is to only work part-time locally, I will have plenty of opportunity to work with the town citizens on whatever issues come up and work with all the town boards and commissions.”
MUIR: “A vote for (me) on March 3 for a three-year term as selectperson will give the citizens a person that will work hard to make them a priority.”

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