Monday, March 16, 2015


Peacham Annual Town and School Report with meeting agenda featuring Fire Chief Jeff Berwick-30 year volunteer 

Dearest Readers,
Peacham VT Congregational Church
Two weeks ago on March 3rd, Vermont held Town Meeting Day throughout the state. It’s called “Democracy in Action”, and once again I’m impressed by how many Peacham folks came out to the Congregational Church to approve town and school budgets for the year, hold floor nominations and paper ballot votes for various municipal officers right on the spot, and discuss issues of concern. These can be contentious, but not this year.

Town Meeting in session Moderator at the pulpit_Stan the Town Clerk counting ballots and Melissa Kohl taking minutes
Julianne Barney-Head of the Library Board of Trustees speaks about  her pride in being a new resident (1-1/2 years)
Adam Kane-Director of the Fairbanks Museum of Natural History in St. Johnsbury VT, used the occasion to plug a new Dinosaur Show coming  in July 
Participants stood up and spoke freely with lots of humor and poking fun at each other. 
David Jacobs -winner of the selectman position

After two men were nominated for Selectman, a woman rose to ask what they looked like, and if the men would speak about themselves and their qualifications. This caught the nominees by surprise I think. They bumbled a bit, and finally managed to speak clearly. There had been no campaigning beforehand. A paper ballot ensued and the majority winner, David Jacobs, was announced within a few minutes of counting the votes from a big wooden box. 
Lining up to cast ballots for selectman
Another notable vote was for Tom Galinat to assume the open position of Town Clerk.
Tom Gallant newly elected Town Clerk  holding his son

Bob Fuehrer Town Agent is re-approved for another term

 Everyone laughed when Bob Fuehrer rose to say that in twenty years of being the Town Agent, he had really never had an issue to tend to as the agent. Nevertheless he was voted in unopposed to another 1-year term.
Diana Senturia collects lunch money 

Volunteers prepare the Church Dining hall for Town Meeting lunch

The meeting broke for a $4.00 lunch downstairs in the church hall. The price covered rolls, beverages and dessert. Attendees with last names beginning with A-M were asked to bring a side dish or salad to share. N-Z people brought a main dish.  Children under five ate free. There was free day care provided as well.

Town Meeting, a throwback to revolutionary days, works best in its purest form when the town is small like Peacham. We are about 700 people, but probably 500-ish in the winter.  Big towns have a harder time of it.  Often there is an Australian ballot for pre-designated issues and elections, with the results being “advisory only” for the previously elected city government to consider when taking up the matter later. Some towns have moved the day to Saturday to get more people to attend.  

Town Meeting in Peacham is a vibrant affair, and another chance for me to meet my neighbors, who vote, speak out and volunteer in community.  My face also became more recognizable to other Peacham-ites.
Back Cover-Annual Town and School Report featuring some Peacham elementary school kids planting a tree, principal Judy Ross, and volunteers (total of 47 students in the entire school)

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