Hello Winooski, I want to share two important updates with you this week.
First, our search for a new City Manager will continue. During our last regular City Council meeting, community members were able to hear from our final candidate who shared their presentation and took questions from attendees. We also received feedback after the meeting from those who watched the recorded video and from those who attended the live stream at the O'Brien Community Center - many thanks to those who are getting involved in this process!
On Monday, the City Council held a special meeting to decide whether to extend an offer to the final candidate. Ultimately, the Council voted to continue the process to find the ideal manager for the City of Winooski. Feel free to join us during our next regular meeting on Monday, October 4, 2021, where Council will review our hiring process and discuss how to move forward. There will be additional opportunities to stay involved in this process, so please keep informed by signing up for our news updates.
Second, you may have heard the news that the Vermont GOP and the Republican National Committee have brought lawsuits against the City of Winooski and our neighbors in Montpelier in response to our recently approved charter changes, which would allow all residents, regardless of legal status, to vote in our local/municipal elections.
More than 2/3 of Winooski voters supported this change, which I believe is an important step in improving equity in our community. This charter change would give an elevated voice to a tenth of our residents who send their kids to our schools, pay their taxes, create economic opportunities, and enrich Winooski's cultural and social fabric. There is no reason to expect residents to contribute without representation in our local elections. Many residents spend years living in Winooski while their path to citizenship is lengthy, expensive, and full of barriers.
I am disappointed by this lawsuit, but more importantly, I remain proud of the work that has gone into this process by our voters, commissioners, councilors, and representatives. While the cities of Winooski and Montpelier are directly named in these lawsuits, it is worth pointing out that the State Legislature supported and approved our charter change. The State of Vermont made the legally binding amendment to our charter and in the end, the Supreme Court of Vermont may well have to weigh in. Should that happen and our charter change stands, I hope it inspires our neighboring municipalities to join us in expanding local voting rights to all of our residents.
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.
Mayor Kristine Lott - firstname.lastname@example.org / 802 766 1988