Democrats raise questions about Dubie’s possible appointment

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(Host) The possible appointment of Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie to a key international aviation post continued to draw controversy on Thursday. Democrats want to know if Dubie pursued this position before the November election. He says the answer is ‘no.’ And there’s a debate as to whether the governor has the authority to fill a vacancy if the lieutenant governor resigns.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel has more.

(Kinzel) There are more questions than answers about Dubie’s situation and it’s not clear when the controversy will be settled. Dubie has expressed an interest in becoming the U.S. representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization. That’s a group based in Montreal that regulates many aspects of international travel. The appointment is made by the White House and the position carries a rank similar to an ambassador.

Democratic Party Chairman Peter Mallory is calling on Dubie to answer some key questions about this possible appointment:

(Mallory) “I think the critical question is, what did the lieutenant governor know and when did he know it? Really. Was he out soliciting votes from Vermonters when he was thinking about getting another job? Did he actively pursue this job? Did they come to him? Was he standing up taking the oath five days, six days ago thinking about Montreal?”

(Kinzel) Dubie was reluctant to discuss this issue but he did provide a timeframe for his interest in the position, and as a pilot he’s very aware of the responsibilities of the organization.

(Dubie) “When I was asked by the administration, it was after the election. I’ve known about ICAO. I’ve operated under the ICAO for many years. I decline any further comment.”

(Kinzel) Meanwhile there are two very different points of view if the governor has the authority to fill a vacancy should the lieutenant governor resign. Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says the answer is definitely yes:

(Markowitz) “Yes, I think that both the Constitution and our state laws contemplate it.”

(Kinzel) But the secretary of the Senate, David Gibson, says the issue is not clear cut because the Vermont Constitution doesn’t specifically address this issue:

(Gibson) “It could remain open until the next election is the simple answer, and the Senate would be able to operate because it has a presiding officer provided for in the Constitution.”

(Kinzel) Governor Jim Douglas says he hopes Dubie will serve out his term in office. Douglas says he hasn’t taken any steps to promote Dubie’s nomination to the international post.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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