Dawn Francis, town manager
Karen Richard, Colchester’s elected town clerk since 1998, has officially announced her retirement after 31 years of employment at the town of Colchester, effective June 30. Prior to becoming town clerk, Karen was an assistant assessor for the town for 11 years and an elected lister for eight years.
During her tenure, Karen has worn many hats (as both board member and volunteer) and been a positive force in the town, region and state, sharing her expertise and knowledge statewide. In 2007, Karen was named the Vermont Clerk of the Year, and in 2014 received the Treasurer of the Year award from the Vermont Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Association. Karen also led the efforts to bring the Colchester into the 21st century, overseeing the digitization of decades’ worth of land records, making them easy to access by the public anywhere and at any time. As a result, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns has called Colchester the “First Digital Community” in the state.
We will be sad to see her go, but as Colchester Selectboard chairwoman Nadine Scibek noted, “We are indebted to Karen Richard for her long tenure of exemplary service to the town and wish her a fulfilling and happy retirement.” Please join us in wishing Karen all the best!
Chief Jennifer Morrison
The Community Outreach Program has been formed! The four specialists are busy with training, orientation and getting ready to hit the streets in our community. We will be sharing these four full-time employees (employed by the Howard Center) across six communities. The outreach specialists are intended to provide support to members of our communities with unmet social service needs. They are also available as a “social work” component to police officers, businesses, schools and more to help address problematic behaviors and situations where a mental health concern may be the root cause. We will be sharing more details of their mission in future communications. Please welcome Marlon Fisher, Rachel Castillo, Jeff Cook and Mike Muery to Colchester!
This week we welcomed back Officer Jesse Treier who left almost a year ago to support his wife in an out-of-state job opportunity. We are thrilled that Jesse and his wife have returned to Colchester! Jesse will jump back into his patrol duties. Our newest recruit, Meghan Duell, is approximately half way through basic training at the Vermont Police Academy. Following graduation she will have four more weeks of training and certification courses at the VPA and then she will begin a 14-week field training program. The entire probationary year for a new officer is filled with training, evaluation and constant feedback.
Just a reminder of our “Hello! How are You?” program. If you know of an elderly or vulnerable person who is living alone and would benefit from daily contact with a live voice, please contact our dispatch center to at 264-5555.
Rescue and Technical Rescue
Rescue Chief Amy Akerlind
Big changes are coming up for the rescue squad! I am changing careers after being at the helm for 13 years (11.5 as the first paid rescue chief). We interviewed candidates on April 5, and everyone is anxious to see who will be the next rescue chief!
We also have a full-time career captain position opening, as one of our current career staff is taking a supervisory role at his previous ambulance service. It is a great career opportunity for him but our loss.
The first quarter of the year has proven to be another busy start! We have already received 378 calls for service. Last year at this time we had 344 calls, and the first quarter of 2016 we were at 266. We responded to 248 of these calls within our primary area, and mutual aid, into other communities 96 times. While on these calls we turned over 34 requests for service to outside agencies. Luckily we have a strong mutual aid system here in Chittenden County!