Letter to the editor: Atherton’s Selectboard candidacy is a conflict of interest

I fail to comprehend how Dave Atherton’s candidacy for the Brandon Selectboard is not a direct conflict of interest with his position as Town Manager of our neighboring town, Pittsford. 

The Selectboard is privy to confidential information regarding town employees, contract negotiations, financial matters, etc.  Vital information that should not be available to other, possibly competing towns.

A reading of the Town of Brandon Policy of Conflicts of Interest makes that perfectly clear.  Dave Atherton, as a paid employee of Pittsford, has a direct financial interest and possible impact, due to that employment, in the decision processes made by Brandon’s leadership, whether it is grant applications, employment candidates, and a myriad of other decisions made by the Selectboard, along with the amicable interactions between the Board members, and town management.  In the past, from the many times I witnessed him at meetings as Brandon’s Town Manager, I would not consider Dave Atherton a team player in his interactions with the Selectboard.  Disrespectful verging on contemptuous at times, and I don’t see that conduct as beneficial to Brandon.  

The town policy on conflict of interest is available at: https://www.townofbrandon.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/brandontownscanner@gmail.com_201909[…]pdf

At the Candidates Forum last Thursday, when I posed the question of conflict to Dave Atherton, he answered that he had confirmation from the powers that be at the State level, that they did not consider it to be a conflict. In fact, Mr. Atherton stated, he could be Town Manager of both Brandon and Pittsford and it wouldn’t be a conflict of interest.  How ludicrous and frightening!  He also said he would recuse himself from votes that would be a conflict.  The fact remains he would still have vital information to our town that he could use to his advantage as the Town Manager and employee of Pittsford.

There are other qualified candidates to select from to better serve Brandon’s interests.

Brent L. Buehler


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