Letters to the Editor

How about the laws already on the books?

Feb 7 2023, 6:01 AM

Welcome to the Legislature’s new judicial committee members. Here are some realities you should understand.

First, Vermont's legal system is designed to protect the status quo. Vermont's lawmakers don't work for their constituents. Familiarize yourself with all the rabbit holes that prior legislative committees have written into the existing statutes, rules, administrative procedures and documents. Institutions of the state which allege to give advice and direction to citizens often give erroneous or conflicting "facts."

Second, Vermont's elected officials are a protected class of citizens. Corrupt or incompetent selectboard members cannot be removed until they are voted out of office or proven to be insane. No special elections or petitions will help you to get rid of them.

Third, Vermont's judicial system doesn't offer relief for abuse by officials. If your selectboard doesn't keep records, or comply with public record statutes, you will pay $300 to complain to the court. Filing forms for financial relief will show that you are doing quite well by Vermont's standards.

Fourth, Vermont's judicial system has a double standard for pro se filers. The court will inform you that you have a right to represent yourself while they advise against it. You will be required to follow the rules of the court if you are suing a municipality, but your adversary's attorney will not be required to follow the same rules.

Fifth, "warnings" are posted in miniscule typefaces and include few details. The term "inclusion" does not refer to your right to access financial or procedural policies. A posted "warning" may be published weekly for months before the "Australian Ballot," but the details of financial commitments aren't open for discussion until the "information meeting" the night before

the vote. Public record requests are ignored. (See third reality above.)

Sixth, nepotism cannot be prevented when public record laws are not enforced. Vermont's last legislative session ended with no "ethical rules."

Before you write any more laws, please take the time to include consequences for elected/appointed officials who don't comply with the ones already "on the books."

Thank you and good luck.

Nancy Kessling