Letters to the Editor

Another native Vermonter relocates
The people I befriended in Shelburne/Charlotte will always be near-n-dear-2-my-heart. Plus, they represent half my life (yup, sixty years ago Mr. & Mrs. Trahan gave birth to an outgoing child in Burlington). I’m hoping this letter to the editor will make it into the many households I didn’t personally say good bye 2 and serve as a small community’s reminder—that we all are connected to soooo many people.

A month ago the husband Dan & I settled in Washington State. House sold (TY, Dottie). Renting house and hope to build—however, just getting here has been the goal all along. If you know me, you get the point.

Indulge me if you would while I throw out a few names to send out a “friendly shout” to just a tip of the iceberg folks that are left behind in Vermont (Jim & Mary, Diane, Mary, Liz, Al & Nancy, Larry, Lisa, Jackie and, of course, the Charlotte Grange & Rotarians).

Rest assured I’ll be back, and in the meantime think of me when you think “of us community-minded individuals” who do random acts of kindness. And, yes, I’ve already done the Green Up thing, which is another Vermont tradition I’m bringing with me!

Keep supporting/reading your local newspapers, it’s a nice extension I believe to the Welcome Good Neighbor way of living that shouts Vermont.

Ceal Moran

The “crux of the issue” is the perception of cronyism
I want to thank The Charlotte News for its reporting on the ash tree removal RFP, which I believe has been generally accurate and fair. In the most recent article on the subject, however, “A promise to change the process, with some issues unresolved,” there are some inaccuracies that I think need to be corrected.

Greg Ranallo of Teacher’s Tree Service is misquoted as saying, “…never has a low bid been accepted without an explanation…” His point was that higher bids have never been accepted without explanation. That was a central issue.

It is not true that “disposal of the wood after the trees were cut down was not listed on the RFP,” and I don’t believe this is what I said at the meeting. Furthermore, I think it is misleading to follow this with the statement, “There lies the crux of the issue: Are items that don’t appear on the RFP allowed to be considered when awarding a contract? And should RFPs in the future be more detailed?”

The crux of the issue is the perception of cronyism in awarding town contracts, not the specificity of future RFPs. The detail that needs to be added to town contracts will be explicit criteria upon which proposals are to be evaluated. Presumably this will include things like price, length of time to complete the project, relevant professional experience, level of expertise and quality of the recommendations. Criteria such as personal experience with the bidder and whether or not Charlotte-based companies and/or Charlotte residents are preferred, if considered at all, will hopefully receive less weight.

A related question that has been raised is whether it was fair to ask other contending contractors if they were willing to match Chris’s Lawn Care’s offer to remove all the ash trees in the right of way, including the small trees and unmarked trees. My opinion on this is that if a contract award may be made based on criteria other than what was in the RFP, then all contractors need to be given the chance respond.

The March 12 RFP, together with a March 24 amendment, specified that the logs were to be set outside of the roadway in a manner that does not impede traffic. The RFP further stated that the contractor could claim the wood if the contractor had secured permission from the landowner to do so.

Chipped material was to be delivered to nearby landowners upon request made to the town administrator or be deposited at the former flea market site. Wood left by the roadside tends to disappear quickly, so our expectation was that most of this material would be removed by somebody other than the road commissioner’s crews.

Mark Dillenbeck
Tree Warden