(Host) Despite yesterday’s cold temperatures voters turned out in near record numbers in Rutland to elect a new mayor, treasurer and several new members for the board of aldermen.
VPR’s Nina Keck has the story.
(Keck) Christopher Louras had to compete against five other candidates for mayor – but with 33% of the vote Louras came out on top. Jerry Kreitzer was second and Joseph Butch Paul came in third. Louras supporters gathered last night at a local restaurant to celebrate his victory.
(Crowd Cheering sounds)
(Keck) City officials in Rutland have spent much of the last year sorting out a number of embarrassing accounting problems. Louras says getting city finances in order will be his first priority as mayor.
(Louras) “The city has to turn a corner. I’m not going to say that we haven’t bottomed out. There’s a very good possibility there may be a few more shoes to drop. My eyes are wide open to that. But I will be open with the Board of Aldermen, I will be open with the public. They expect that of me. They want the transparency, they want the accountability and I’m going to deliver that.”
(Keck) Working with Louras on that will be Wendy Wilton the city’s newly elected treasurer. Wilton, a former state senator, defeated incumbent Al Wilkinson. It was the first time in 60 years the race for treasurer was a contested one. Rutland City voters also elected several new Aldermen. Incumbents Karen Bossi and Paul Barbagalo held on to their seats. New faces on the board include former state lawmaker Tom DePoy, former school board member Madeline Sherman, Joanne Slattery and David Dress. Dress says it’s time for the board to get creative when it comes to problem solving. The status quo simply isn’t working anymore he says. He also says board members need to work harder to stay connected to local residents and find out what’s on their mind.
(Dress) “One thing I said I was going to do is put a web site up -and I’ll put hot questions that are of interest for the current board and let people respond tome on those.”
(Keck) Voters yesterday also said no to changing the city’s charter to allow 8 of the Rutland’s 11 Aldermen to be elected by ward. They chose to maintain the current system of voting for every candidate on a city wide basis.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.