May 24 election set for vacant Pownal board seat


POWNAL — A special election next month will fill a seat on the Select Board left vacant after a member resigned.

Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, May 24, Town Clerk Karen Burrington said. Polls will be open at the Pownal Center Firehouse from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The open seat is the remaining two years of a three-year term left vacant when member Raymond "R.J." Joly resigned last month.

Burrington said residents who want to run for the open seat must return a petition with signatures of at least 22 registered voters to her office by Monday, May 16. The local office nomination petitions are available at the Town Clerk's office and online at the Secretary of State's website:

John Bushee, Jr. has returned a completed petition, Burrington said. She said a few other residents have taken out petitions, but have not yet returned them.

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Bushee sought a one-year term at Town Meeting in March, but was bested by incumbent Jason Olansky 501-261.

In addition to Olansky, a new board member would join Chairman Ron Bisson and member Henry Strohmaier, both of whom were elected to three-year terms in March; and current Vice Chairman Nelson Brownell, whose three-year term expires in 2017.

Joly was elected in 2015. In a letter of resignation emailed to the Select Board on March 25, Joly took issue with how the town operates, saying that it's "about as poorly run as any government body could possibly be." In his letter, he also indicated he was dissatisfied with Select Board members and town employees.

Vermont statute allows for a Select Board to appoint someone to serve until the next election. But members previously said that multiple residents have expressed interest in the open seat and they would prefer voters make the decision.

Residents must be registered to vote in order to cast ballots at the May 24 election. The last day to register is Wednesday, May 18, at 5 p.m. Absentee ballots are available at the Town Clerk's office and must be filled out by Monday, May 23.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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