City deserves better
Montpelier’s Planning Commission has not been able to adopt new zoning in a timely way — it has been working on this zoning revision since the master plan was adopted in September of 2010. The ridiculous performance of the commissioners at the City Council meeting the other night, where they blamed the city staff for their inaction, was embarrassing to watch. The city deserves better.
I served on the school board in Waitsfield for over nine years and chaired the executive committee of the Washington West Supervisory Union for three years, and this experience taught me a lot about the political process, as well as how to get things done. I find the Montpelier Planning Commission’s efforts to blame the planning director for its lack of progress to be nothing less than intentionally defamatory.
Getting things done on boards requires taking an action. This process has four steps using Robert’s Rules of Order, something that the Montpelier Planning Commission seems to have forgotten exists. First, a motion is made. Second, the motion is seconded. Third, there is some discussion, and fourth, the board votes. The chairman leads this process. The commission members are the only ones who can do this; staff cannot. To blame staff for tasks they cannot do is nonsense and reflects poorly on the chairman and on the entire commission.
I had goals when I chaired the supervisory union meetings, and had the pleasure of working closely with passionate and professional staff. When I sat down and called a meeting to order, I knew who was going to make a motion, who would second it, and what the vote would be. It’s not rocket science. This doesn’t mean I was violating open meeting laws, but rather that I knew how to bring things forward and get things done.
I have watched and attended numerous Montpelier Planning Commission and City Council meetings over the last year. People doing the city’s business need to understand that they alone have the authority to get things done. It’s pretty simple.
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