DERBY – Faye Morin is the new interim Derby Town Clerk and Treasurer, at least until the March town meeting. She was appointed by a divided select board Thursday evening during a special board meeting.
Select board members Brian Smith (chair), Laura Dolgin, and Steve Gendreau voted yes, while members Beula-Jean Shattuck and Karen Jenne abstained.
The select board had held a vote on the issue Monday evening at their regular select board meeting but there were not enough votes to make the appointment. Dolgin was not present Monday. Jenne and Shattuck abstained from the vote Monday as well.
Shattuck said she did not want to vote because she felt the proper procedure was not followed. She did not vote no because she does not have a problem with Morin in the position. “I felt the procedure was not followed from day one,” she said.
She said that former town clerk Nicole Daigle should not have come to the select board in the first place. “We have no say over what the town clerk does.”
Jenne expressed similar concerns.
Smith said Sunday that it is embarrassing that Jenne and Shattuck would not vote yes or no on the motion to appoint Morin. “We are supposed to be decision makers,” he stated.
At the meeting, Dolgin questioned why the two members abstained. Jenne and Shattuck both said they felt badgered by Dolgin to give their reasons but didn't feel obliged to do so.
A petition had been circulated around town and enough signatures have been collected to call for a special election. The earliest the Australian ballot voting could occur is early December. At Town Meeting in March, another election will take place for the town clerk position.
After speaking with the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, Smith’s understanding is that the board is obligated to appoint someone to fill the vacancy as soon as possible, he said last week.
Daigle told the select board in an executive session in July that she had found another job. What was discussed further during that session is not clear as no minutes are taken and the public is not allowed to attend.
Shattuck said Sunday that she had questioned why Daigle’s assistant Mary Ann Tetreault could not have her cut hours reinstated. Tetreault saw her hours cut soon after she beat Daigle at town meeting for the delinquent tax collector's position. Daigle has maintained that Tetreault’s workload had diminished, but now Tetreault says she is way behind in her work and she needs more hours.
Many said that Daigle’s move in cutting the hours was retaliation for Tetreault running against her and beating her for the $30,000-plus a year position.
Daigle has said she wanted to train a viable candidate so at town meeting someone was trained for the position. Many have said that was not an appropriate move as town clerks cannot appoint their own successors.
Vicky Farrand-Lewis, who was at Thursday's meeting, also criticized Daigle, saying, “She should have known what she was doing was improper.”
But Dolgin said Sunday that Daigle was absolutely in her rights to hire and train Morin. “I have no skin in this game,” Dolgin said. Continuity of operations and customer service is what Dolgin wants to see within the town clerk’s office, she said.