The town selectboard elected Jeff Bartley as Chairman of the board at a meeting on May 28.
Bartley has served on the board for five years and, at the time of his election, was serving a two-year term as clerk.The change in position comes after former Chair, Nadine Scibek, resigned her position following nine years of service.
Fellow board member, Herb Downing, nominated Bartley, and the motion was seconded by vice-chair Tom Mulcahy.
“The nominating motion I made on Tuesday was a bit unusual because Nadine’s resignation forced the board to reorganize outside the normal election cycle,” said Downing of his nomination of Bartley. “But with 5 years of experience there was no doubt among board members that Jeff could competently preside at meetings, and continue our tradition of openness, transparency and responsiveness to the needs of our citizens.”
Bartley, who works as Marketing Director at Champlain Valley Expo, described the board as more of a team, or a family—one position does not necessarily have more import than another. “I don’t personally view chair as more important,” he said. “We all pitch in, help each other out, whether that means taking on more or less responsibility as needed.”
The selectboard’s process for choosing a chair is informal, but generally is done by consensus, with offices often shared over time. According to Downing, Bartley’s nomination was the result of general agreement among members that he would do a good job.
“What I love about Colchester, is it’s nonpartisan,” said Bartley. “We might all come from different political backgrounds but there’s no partisanship or gamesmanship behind the scenes. Even if we have disagreements during a meeting, it ends there. We vote, sign paperwork, and then we’re joking back and forth, asking about each others family.”
As far as town projects on the docket, both Downing and Bartley are looking forward to the completion of the bike path along West Lakeshore Drive this summer.
Bartley is also interested in keeping the town’s trend of “living within our means,” he said. “It’s not talked about a lot but our tax rate is lower than what it was in 2012. I want to continue to look at ways we can be most efficient.”
In terms of biggest priorities, Bartley says the board hasn’t changed. “Clean water is our top priority,” he said. “The Malletts Bay initiative and creating a cleaner water system is critical. It is the biggest threat of town. We gotta do something to clean up the bay.”