Carpenter, Artim elected to Middlebury selectboard posts in close votes
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury on Tuesday experienced an additional flurry of election fireworks following the array of local and national electoral pyrotechnics that lit up polling places on March 1.
In a series of two 4-3 votes, Middlebury selectboard members selected Brian Carpenter as their new chairman and retained Nick Artim as their vice chairman.
Carpenter, who was out of town and participated at the meeting via speakerphone, cast the deciding vote in both contests, which were the first order of business at the debut gathering of Middlebury’s new selecboard.
The panel welcomed new members Heather Seeley and Victor Nuovo, who had previously served on the board. Artim won re-election and former Selectman Gary Baker did not make the cut in the five-person race for three selectboard positions. Longtime selectboard Chairman Dean George did not run for re-election.
Artim nominated Carpenter as chairman, while Selectwoman Laura Asermily nominated Selectwoman Susan Shashok. Asermily said her nomination of Shashok stemmed from her colleague’s contributions to the board and her stated goal of being a leader.
“I believe she would be an excellent chair in managing our agenda going forward,” Asermily said of Shashok, who joined the board in 2011.
Carpenter, elected to the panel in 2014, won the election, earning votes from himself, Nuovo, Artim and Selectwoman Donna Donahue. Shashok voted for herself, along with earning support from Asermily and Seeley.
Donahue then nominated Artim — a selectman since 2009 — to remain as vice chairman of the board. Asermily nominated Shashok for the position, while Shashok proposed that Asermily serve in that capacity.
Shashok accepted her nomination, and said that while she appreciated the work that Carpenter and Artim have been doing for the board, she noted both often have to travel for their respective business interests. Carpenter is owner of Champlain Valley Equipment on Exchange Street, while Artim is a licensed fire protection engineer and consultant.
“I’m thinking of the consistency of having people here,” Shashok said.
Recent state law permits elected board members to participate at, and vote in, public meetings via speakerphone. But reception can get crackly and disconnections have occurred during some of the phone sessions.
“I think Susan’s point about traveling is well taken,” Asermily added.
Donahue said she did not think travel should be seen as an obstacle to holding a leadership post on the board.
“We have people with jobs who serve on the selectboard, and they give up a lot of their personal time,” Donahue said.
“So long as they are doing their duties diligently, I don’t believe (travel) is a critical matter for our board.”
Carpenter also backed Artim, who won by a 4-3 tally that featured the same voting lines as the referendum for chairman.
“I think it’s good to have leadership stability from year to year on the board,” he said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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