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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673
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‘Long-festering issues’

By Steve Grace

After reading the two articles of February 6 and February 13 about Duxbury's financial problems, I feel the need to address publicly some of the serious and long-festering issues identified in these articles. When I read the first article of February 6, it was readily apparent that this article was much more a personal defense/endorsement of Duxbury's town clerk than it was a "news" article. The bias was so blatant that it practically slapped the reader in the face. But ... biased reporting is not a rare occurrence in The Valley Reporter so I did not get too worked up about it.

The second article (February 13), however, is much more alarming. Even the obvious bias cannot obscure the fact that there are some very serious issues going on in the Duxbury town clerk/treasurer's accounting of funds, monitoring of the finances of the town and working in concert with the select board to conduct the business of the town. The few quotes in the article from an independent audit of the situation makes it quite clear that the town treasurer's role at the time of the controversies was very poorly – maybe incompetently is a better descriptor – performed.

If you are truly interested in a non-biased discussion of this issue, why not publish in its entirety the letter from the independent auditor on the findings of that person's investigation?

I have no axe to grind in this long-festering confrontational relationship between the select board and the town clerk/treasurer or, for the sake of accuracy, the former town treasurer, Ken Scott. I have never had a cross word with Ken; he has always greeted me graciously and treats me well. But I also know and greatly respect some of the select board members; I've known a couple of them for decades and I can attest to the fact that they are intelligent, hardworking, honest public servants with nothing but the best interests of our town on their agendas. (And, incidentally, if you're looking for people who are grossly underpaid for their services to our town, look no further than the select board. These people make a fraction of the money that the town clerk earns per hour of work.)

One glaring fact stands out in this long-running dysfunctional working relationship between the select board and the town clerk: Select board members have come and gone through the years; Ken Scott has remained as the town clerk. And the confrontation and animosity never goes away. No matter the composition of the select board, the lack of communication and cooperation continues. I would think that this would send a message to the most casual of observers as to what and who is the root of the problem.

I'm finally fed up with it. To reinstall Ken Scott as town treasurer seems to me to be a ludicrous option. And I feel the same way about his continuance as town clerk.

Steve Grace lives in Duxbury.

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