• Not in best interest
    October 31,2013

    Not in best interest

    I am writing to comment on the ongoing public debate involving Montpelier’s planning director.

    In summer 2012, I volunteered on the city Council’s citizen review budget committee. This was established to follow up on a city-wide efficiency study known as the “Matrix Report” conducted by outside consultants. The Matrix Report raised several concerns about the planning department, including its heavy emphasis on special projects that diverted focus away from core planning functions. It also reported that survey responses from department employees were less positive than in the rest of city government.

    Our citizen’s group compared various city departments with those of comparable municipalities within the state. The committee examining the Planning Department also raised questions about the overall focus and efficiency of Montpelier’s Planning Department resulting in a recommendation to move economic development responsibilities outside of the planning department.

    It appears that the city’s effort to implement change has been misconstrued by the press and resulted in unwarranted vilification of our mayor and city manager. Free speech and public banking were never the issues. Instead, these important discussions have been used to deflect attention from the long-standing problems within the planning department. I, for one, find this misdirected controversy unfortunate, beside the point, and not in Montpelier’s best interest.

    Jane Kast


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