For Immediate Release
March 8, 2013
Contact: Doug Gibson
Vermont State Employees’ Association participating In March 12 “Parking Town Hall”
In an effort to foster a wider and more public discussion amongst stakeholders about what numerous state employees are labeling a parking crisis in Montpelier, the Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA) is encouraging broad participation in a “Parking Town Hall” on March 12 from noon to 1:00 p.m. inside House chambers at the State House.
In addition to employee representatives, Town Hall participants scheduled to speak include BGS Commissioner Michael Obuchowski, Montpelier Mayor John Hollar and several local business and property owners.
“In VSEA members’ minds, the lack of sufficient parking for state employees working in Montpelier really boils down to an issue of fairness and equity,” said VSEA President John Reese. “There’s no substitute for the voices of state employees, and we look forward to continuing our open dialogue with the State on how best to resolve this crisis.”
He added, “The current lack of adequate parking in Montpelier affects state employees’ ability to deliver services to Vermonters. When an employee is unable to find parking in a timely manner, he or she is not at their work station answering calls, logging data, filling out paperwork, or whatever. In turn, that places more stress on the employee’s co-workers because they are left to fill in for the employee who is still out driving around looking for parking. That employee out there searching for a space is also burning more fossil fuels than they would if adequate parking existed. This is a challenge for state employees at the Capital complex, and increasingly at National Life as well.”
Reese adds that external forces are also worsening an already bad parking situation. These include things like ongoing construction projects, which have eliminated dozens of spaces, the closing of the parking garage located in the LaBrioche building and an influx of displaced Waterbury employees to Montpelier worksites.
“On the heels of losing their entire workplace to Irene and having to adapt quickly to new commutes and work stations, some displaced Waterbury employees now have to deal with finding parking at their temporary worksites in Montpelier,” Reese explains. “And it wasn’t just a few employees who were displaced by Irene, it was hundreds, many of whom are now working in Montpelier.”
Reese said VSEA members will be coming to the Town Hall meeting to hear which of several “short-term fix” proposals they previously presented to the State will be implemented. These include ideas like relocating fleet vehicles to alternate sites and offering of incentives to state employees who volunteer to utilize alternate forms of transportation to get to work, such as buses.
“VSEA members will be offering long-term parking solutions as well, but we understand that, even if adopted, these long-term ideas will require some time and money,” said Reese. “We’re extremely hopeful this Town Hall will give everyone a chance to begin publicly vetting any and all parking ideas, both short- and long-term.”