• Keeping focus where it should be
    July 02,2014

    Keeping focus where it should be

    This is in response to Pete Kelley’s letter “What’s best for Berlin.”

    Pete, yes, I am running for the Senate for Washington County — but I can assure you that my decision has nothing to do with why I am supporting the Central Vermont Public Safety Authority.

    As a matter of fact, I was advised not to get involved in local issues if I was running for the Senate. But the concept of a central Vermont public safety authority is important to me.

    I am a firm believer in local control and a resident’s right to vote. I have been involved with the public safety issue long before you became involved in the Berlin Select Board. When I was chair of the Select Board, I approached Montpelier and Barre City with a similar idea and volunteered to represent Berlin when the committee was formed. I dropped out of the public arena because of my health. Now that my health is no longer an issue, I am back involved in my community, and hopefully the state.

    My approach to whether Berlin should participate in the public safety authority is a win-win as far as I am concerned. In being allowed to vote for the public safety authority charter, the residents have the opportunity to express their support or disapproval of the concept of the authority. If the charter passes, then Berlin representatives can be at the table to help create the authority and decide which services the authority will offer and at what cost.

    The charter specifically states that when the authority presents its proposal to the municipality, it is the governing body that votes to accept or reject the memorandum of understanding and its related costs. Nothing I am proposing usurps that authority. So you and the other members of the board will have the final say.

    Pete, you mentioned in a recent email to me that you are publishing a nine-page report about public safety. I hope you do, because maybe your report may foster some good dialogue among voters and provide an opportunity for a thorough understanding of the potential benefits of an authority. This is an important issue to Berlin, Montpelier, Barre City and Barre Town, and I will continue to work on it. But as you state, I am also running for the state Senate and plan to focus those efforts on affordability and opportunity for our working families.

    Pat McDonald


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