Six candidates with a wide range of experience have applied to fill the Shelburne Selectboard seat created by the resignation of Vice Chairman John Kerr.
The group includes several newer residents in Shelburne, two lawyers, and a longtime resident who previously served on the board.
Public interviews with the Selectboard are planned for next Tuesday at 7 p.m. Filing letters of interest by the Tuesday night’s deadline were:
- Ken Albert, a resident since 1971, who served 18 years on the Selectboard, including four as chairman, before stepping down in 2003. Albert also served 10 years on the Shelburne Planning Commission. The Army veteran worked as an engineer in design and management at IBM for 33 years. After retiring, he became a founder and managing partner for the Shelburne Vineyard.
- Kristina Guerrero, a resident since October 2015, has served on the Shelburne Social Services Committee since April. She served in the U.S. Air Force and currently is the chief executive officer and founder of TurboPUP, which produces meal bars for dogs.
- Jaimesen Heins is chairman of the Shelburne Planning Commission and was on the South Burlington Land Trust from 2005 to 2012. He has been a Shelburne justice of the peace since November 2016. Heins has been senior legal counsel at Keurig Green Mountain since January 2015 and earlier did legal work for Burton Snowboards for nine years.
- Mary Kehoe has lived in Shelburne since 2013 and serves on the Development Review Board. Kehoe has been a practicing attorney for 35 years and currently has her own law firm. She previously served on the Burlington City Council and was a board member for both the YMCA in Burlington and the Vermont Women’s Health Center.
- Doug Merrill has been a town resident for about 12 years. He served on the town Bicycle and Pedestrian Path Committee for six years. Merrill has worked for a series of companies, including Husky Injection Molding, Dynapower and Sunward Systems, since moving to Vermont in 2005. He has been CEO for Semiprobe in Winooski since June 2016.
- John Zicconi has been a Shelburne resident for 28 years. He has been executive secretary for the Vermont Transportation Board since 2012. He worked for the Vermont Transportation Agency 2006-12. He is a former newspaper writer for the Stowe Reporter (1992-2004) and the Rutland Herald/Times Argus (2004-2006).
Zicconi is the only applicant to warn of a possible conflict of interest. He said that, due to his job with the state transportation board, he believes he would need to recuse himself from the ongoing legal battle between the Vermont Railway and the town government.
When discussing the vacancy recently, some Selectboard members initially said they were looking for a former board member or somebody with experience drafting an annual municipal budget. That will be a major emphasis for the Selectboard in the coming weeks as it prepares the town budget to present to voters on Town Meeting Day in March. The board plans at least 10 meetings between next Tuesday and Feb. 27, including an all-day meeting Dec. 14 with department representatives about the upcoming budget.
Selectboard member Dr. Colleen Parker, the lone woman on the board, has said she would like the board to consider diversity, including gender and age, when filling the seat.
Kerr resigned effective Oct. 31, citing a lack of civility within local government and the town. At least five of the six candidates expressed the hope of helping Selectboard members get through some of the difficulties they face, referencing civility issues at board meetings, on social media, and in letters.
The board has not yet decided how it will choose from the applicants once the interviews are completed. The last time a vacancy was filled, the board had interviews and discussion in open session. Board member Dr. Josh Dein has urged the group to follow that example and to consider ranking candidates in the process.
The process outlined for filling the post says that the board’s choice would be sworn in as soon as the decision was made.