Handful in Middlebury vote to end election of auditors

MIDDLEBURY — A small group of voters turned out at the polls on Tuesday to vote 67-1 in favor of amendments to the Middlebury town charter that could soon lead to elimination of the position of elected town auditor.
It has been several years since anyone has run for the elected position of auditor in Middlebury. 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 three positions of elected auditor in Middlebury have failed to attract any candidates for the past several years.
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 charter amendments OK’d by voters on Tuesday will now be forwarded to the secretary of state, then on to the Vermont 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 next year’s town meeting.

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