|VERMONT SECRETARY OF STATE - Jim Condos|
After the Meeting
A Checklist for local officials
1. FINISH THE MINUTES: The Town Clerk is obliged to prepare the minutes of town meeting and have them approved by two people from among the following officers-selectboard member, moderator, or justices of the peace. This must be done within seven days of the meeting. 24 V.S.A. § 1152.
2. GET ORGANIZED: "Forthwith," the statute announces, the selectboard must meet, elect a chair, a clerk (of the board), and let the town clerk know your decision. At this meeting, you will also need to appoint three fence viewers, a poundkeeper, inspectors of lumber, shingles and wood, weighers of coal, and a tree warden. 24 V.S.A. § 871. The same process should be followed by any board, including auditors, listers, the board of civil authority, the board for abatement of taxes, planning commission, and zoning board of adjustment, and any others. Take up the issue at your first meeting, elect a chair, set your regular meeting schedule and let the town clerk know about it.
3. SETTLE: Immediately after town meeting, if not before, auditors need to "settle" with former town officers. If a new delinquent tax collector has been elected, for instance, the former DTC must pay over all funds collected to date and make a complete accounting of the taxes still owed. 24 V.S.A. § 1578. All papers in the collector's hands are also to be turned over to the successor collector.
4. GET SWORN: Town clerks, select board members, constables, listers, grand jurors and fence viewers and the school board must be sworn in before taking office. 24 V.S.A. § 831. See the town clerk for forms, or look at the oath in Chapter II, Section 56 of the Vermont Constitution, in the first volume of Vermont reports.
5. GET BONDED: School directors, constables, road commissioners, collectors of taxes, treasurers, and town clerk must be bonded before taking office. 24 V.S.A. § 832. The selectboard sets the amount. This is usually done through your insurance company. The town or school district pays for the bonds, not the officers. 24 V.S.A. § 835.
6. TELL WHO WAS ELECTED: Newly elected town clerks must file the certificate of their election with the county clerk, signed by the moderator of the meeting, within five days of the election. File a copy of your oath of office as well. 24 V.S.A. § 1151. The clerk should also write the state treasurer to tell him the name of the new town treasurer. 24 V.S.A. § 1166. Actually, this must be done before July 1, but why not do it now and get it out of the way? Within five days of town meeting, the clerk should also send each lister's name, mailing address, and length of term to the commissioner of taxes. 24 V.S.A. § 1168. Send the name and address of the constable to the county clerk. 24 V.S.A. § 1169.
7. APPOINT ASSISTANTS: Town clerks and treasurers must have assistants. They should be appointed following the beginning of each new term, and the appointment recorded. 24 V.S.A. §§ 1170, 1573. Send the county clerk a copy of the appointment of the assistant town clerk and of the assistant's subscribed oath. 24 V.S.A. § 1172.
8. LEARN THE OPEN MEETING AND PUBLIC RECORDS LAWS: Read them. They are found back to back in the first volume of the Vermont Statutes Annotated, at 1 V.S.A. §§ 310-320. Everything is open unless you can find a reason to close it in these laws. Don't meet with a quorum of your board without public notice. That's against the law. See the Pocket Guide To The Open Meetings Law and The Law of Public Records on our Website for details.
9. ASK FOR HELP: Everybody helps everybody in Vermont. Call those who held the office before you. Call those who hold the same office but in another town. Call us (1-800-439-8683). Call the League of Cities and Towns (1-802-229-9111). Call state offices. There's no reason not to ask for help. Everything is complicated at first.
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