Krasnow said town attorney advised board to ratify Sept. 27 vote with new motions
At its regular meeting on Oct. 11, the selectboard passed separate motions accepting board member Matthew Krasnow’s resignation and electing James Faulkner as its new chair.
The board previously passed a similar motion at their Sept. 27 meeting when Krasnow made a single, two-part motion to resign as chair and elect Faulkner as the new chair.
Vice-chair Frank Tenney objected to the two-part motion and to Krasnow’s attempt to choose his own successor, but the motion was passed.
Tenney told The News he had not been made aware of Krasnow’s plans to resign prior to the Sept. 27 meeting.
Krasnow has served as chair of the Selectboard since March 2014. At the annual town meeting in March 2020, Krasnow was elected to a three-year term.
During the Sept. 27 board meeting, Krasnow announced that he intended to step down as chairman because he and his wife were expecting a child and he was contending with increased professional responsibilities.
At the Oct. 11 meeting, Krasnow announced that his wife gave birth to baby Micah, on Friday, Oct. 8.
“I will probably be doing meetings on Zoom for the foreseeable future,” Krasnow said.
Krasnow then led the board into two separate motions: one for the board to accept his resignation and the second motion to elect Faulkner as its new chairman.
Krasnow said he had received an email from a resident requesting that Town Attorney David Rugh look into the process of the board appointing a new chairman.
“The town attorney gave me a call and he let me know that what we did [at the Sept. 27 meeting] is Kosher,” Krasnow said of his two-part motion. “There’s no guidance in the selectboard rules of procedure about what to do with a mid-session resignation. We called an audible, and it’s permissible. [Rugh] said that with any unusual situation, just like an emergency meeting that’s called, the best thing to do to solidify any doubt would be to ratify any action taken at the next regular selectboard meeting, which would be today.”
Krasnow said that the language for both motions was created by Rugh.
“Is there a reason why the rest of the board didn’t get this correspondence with the lawyer?” selectboard Vice-Chairman Frank Tenney asked Krasnow.
“No, it’s available to you,” Krasnow said.
“Well, I didn’t know you did it (communicated with the town attorney), so I wouldn’t have known,” Tenney told Krasnow.
“It’s pretty standard,” Krasnow said. “And then if people want any correspondence, they are available.”
Board member Lewis Mudge asked Krasnow if the board already approved similar motions at the Sept. 27 meeting, “what would ratifying them actually do?”
“I don’t know, I’m just repeating what the town attorney said,” Krasnow said. “It is ratifying any motions that have passed and solidifying beyond the shadow of a doubt that the selectboard affirms the decision made at a previous meeting.”
When it came time to vote on the first motion, Tenney said “if this is a vote to ratify what was done, my vote would probably be the same” and proceeded to vote against both motions, just as he did at the Sept. 27 meeting.
“I have no problem with Jim being chair, but I am not changing my vote,” Tenney said.
When reached for comment, attorney Rugh told The News he is “not authorized” to respond to questions regarding town policies and procedures or other guidance relied on by the town in cases where a selectboard chair resigns mid-session.
This story is developing.