To the Editor:
The model of governance with which I am most familiar is that of many institutions and non-profits. I have chaired the board of almost a dozen, including Fletcher Allen (now UVM Medical Center), VPR, VT Business Roundtable, The VT College of Fine Arts, The VT Arts Council and several others.
The best practice is for each to have a board of trustees, akin to a selectboard. The trustees are accountable to the mission, ethical and financial integrity of the organization or town, and are responsible for the hiring (and firing if need be), compensation and annual performance review of the executive director or, in this case, the town manager.
Chosen for their professionalism and experience, the town manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the town while the selectboard sets and oversees the values and integrity of the town’s operations, reviews, discusses, and approves the town budget, its one-year and three-year plans as developed and proposed by the town manager.
Town management today with its great diversity of operational details and compliance obligations needs to be in the hands of a professional overseen by its elected citizens, just as in a major institution like a college, hospital, airport or other non-profit.