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Measure would end electing town auditors in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury residents on Tuesday, April 28, will vote on proposed amendments to the town charter that would lead to elimination of the elected position of town auditor.
Middlebury officials have noted that it’s been several years since anyone has run for the elected position of auditor. Those auditors have been charged with conducting a formal review of the town’s annual financial statements. But the elected position has become superfluous in light of the professional audit that Vermont requires as a condition for municipalities seeking state grants or access to the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank for the purpose of financing capital projects.
As a result of the professional audit, the position of elected auditor has failed to attract any candidates for the past several years, according to Middlebury Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay. The selectboard has also advertised for candidates to fill the three vacant positions, but no volunteers have stepped forward for appointment, she noted.
The issue came to a head early this year when resident Ross Conrad suggested that the selectboard’s pay be increased to $2,700 annually. Turns out that only the elected auditors have the power to set the selectboard’s compensation.
The April 28 Australian ballot vote (polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the town offices) on the charter amendments will be preceded by a special town meeting in the municipal building conference room on Monday, April 27, at 7 p.m. If passed, the charter amendments will be forwarded to the secretary of state, then on to the Legislature for approval during the current session. Once lawmakers OK the charter changes (which is usually a formality), Middlebury voters can vote to eliminate the office of auditor at a future town meeting.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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