Letters to the Editor – February 23, 2023

Why I am seeking the two-year selectboard seat

To the Editor:

I’m excited to run for the two-year term on the Charlotte Selectboard.

My husband and I have been residents of Charlotte for over 36 years. This is where we chose to start our family and raise our children. I believe in helping make Charlotte a better place, where the voices of our residents are represented in local government.

I am currently in my 10th year at Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services, Inc. My role as business operations manager requires strategic thinking, autonomy, developing partnerships and control over processes including financial operations, human resources, developing corporate policies and procedures, and compliance oversight. I also serve in an officer capacity on the board of directors as corporate secretary.

I have served in a variety of volunteer roles but most notably on the Charlotte Central School board for 10 years.  During my tenure on the school board, I represented Charlotte on the policy committee, superintendent and principal leadership search committees, and contract negotiations.

Prior to relocating to Vermont, I was a financial analyst for a multinational company during a time when reforecasting and downsizing were commonplace in the tech industry.

My commitment to our community and my history of teamwork makes me the strongest candidate to represent you on the selectboard. I am fiscally disciplined and believe in data-driven decision making. I would be grateful for the opportunity to give back to our community and apply my skill set to serve on the selectboard where I will work tirelessly on your behalf to make Charlotte the best town in Vermont for all of us to live.

Patrice Machavern

Machavern has history of decisions based on facts

To the Editor:

I recommend strongly that Patrice Machavern be elected to the selectboard.

During our several terms together on the Charlotte Central School board, it became apparent to me that, to that point in my life, I had rarely worked with a person (in any capacity) who combined Machavern’s meticulous attention to detail, proficiency with numbers and ability to clearly articulate how she arrived at a decision based upon all of the information at hand. We were a long way from agreeing on all votes (well — no one’s perfect) but there could never be any doubt about a) what information she based her decisions on, and b) her ability to defend them. At times, actually, it was a little intimidating.

People seem to have one of two approaches to selecting a candidate to vote for: hope to find one who they think will agree with them most of the time or find one who will thoroughly examine all of the facts, public opinion, history and ramifications — implicit and implied, presently and for the future — of a decision and then articulate their decision process clearly and vote according to conscience — sometimes resulting in agreement and sometimes resulting in disagreement but always, in process, transparent and understandable.

Letters of recommendation tend to ramble on with esoteric insights and various personal anecdotes. This one will not. I cannot tell you how Machavern will vote on a subject — and neither can nor will she — until she evaluates all of the information at hand. In a more political sense, after reflection, I couldn’t tell you whether Patrice Machavern is a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent or a Moonie. All that I can tell you is that all of her decision processes were transparent and her decisions based upon the process and characteristics described above.

Clyde E. Baldwin

Support for Machavern for Charlotte Selectboard

To the Editor:

I’m writing in support of Patrice Machavern’s candidacy for selectboard for the two-year term. I’ve known Machavern for 30+ years, having worked with her in a variety of activities including community events and school committees, etc. I’m grateful for her extensive community service efforts for so many years; Machavern’s contributions have touched almost all key town organizations, both public and private. While attending many school board meetings during the years Machavern served as a member and later chair, I observed her effectively navigate many complicated issues and interactions.

Machavern brings compassion and commitment to every task she takes on. She can distill complex information into understandable, relevant observations, making her an excellent and effective communicator. Machavern’s background in accounting and town finance, including her familiarity with current town financial and budget issues, will make her an important asset to the selectboard’s work. Her talents and insights will support both her colleagues on the selectboard as well as all Charlotte residents. I hope you’ll join me in voting for Patrice Machavern.

Denise Fitzgerald Danyow

Why Charlotte Selectboard needs Patrice Machavern

I served on the Charlotte Selectboard from 2014 to 2020 and can say without a doubt Patrice Machavern has skills needed by the town. Charlotte, unlike most of its neighbors, chooses not to have a town manager and to leave the management to the selectboard. Whether this is a good idea or not is a discussion for another time.

I worked with Machavern first as the selectboard liaison to the Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service and then as president of that organization after leaving the selectboard. Machavern is always prepared for meetings, has significant human resources training (something the town lacks), outstanding organizational skills, a thorough understanding of tax and financial topics and, most importantly, common sense.

She is a longstanding town resident with invaluable historical knowledge. When one considers the management responsibilities of the selectboard, Patrice Machavern is the obvious choice.

Fritz Tegatz
Brighton, Utah

Publicly funded health care is a good idea for all Vermonters

To the Editor:

The Vermont Senate is discussing a bill — S.39 — that would make state legislators eligible for the state employees benefit plan at no cost to the legislators. It would also provide legislators with childcare reimbursement and pay for out-of-session work that is not currently compensated.

The bill’s goal is to make serving in the legislature more attractive to Vermonters with young children, those with low incomes, and/or those without a source of health coverage. That makes sense. We would all benefit from having the most diverse legislature possible. And it’s true that legislators work hard and put in long hours during the four months they serve in the legislature and that they work in an unpaid capacity for the rest of the year. Their salaries are relatively low, they receive no help with childcare, and they must count on getting health coverage through other sources, if that is available to them.

So, I have no objection to providing legislators with publicly funded comprehensive health care coverage for themselves and their families. But I can’t for the life of me understand why those benefits shouldn’t extend to all Vermonters.

I say so having watched the Senate Government Operations committee hearing this week at which several legislators testified as to why health coverage should be offered to them, free of charge, and why this bill should move forward. The reasons offered apply to most Vermonters, not just legislators. People having to stay in jobs they don’t like or decline jobs they do want based on whether the jobs did or did not offer health care coverage.

They outlined many of the reasons why legislators decided to serve only because they were able to secure health care in some other way, like a spouse who has good health insurance through their job, or from the employer for whom they worked when the legislature was not in session. Again, these are problems many Vermonters deal with on a continuing basis. In fact, 44 percent of all Vermonters with health insurance under the age of 65 are under-insured — a major illness would lead to financial bankruptcy. Many people in this position avoid care, leading to worsening health and even premature death.

The final irony of S.39 is that it is being swiftly moved along in the legislative process, unlike legislation that would apply to all Vermonters. Another bill — H.156— that would implement publicly funded health care for all Vermonters starting with primary care, is being completely ignored by health care leadership.

And this bill has 59 legislative sponsors. Backers of this bill were told “we don’t have time to take it up,” among a whole host of other excuses.

Yet it appears they have time to work on legislation to extend publicly funded health care to themselves. And if S.39 passes, the legislators would all be eligible for cost-free health care by January 2024.

Too bad the same cannot be said for the rest of Vermonters.

Deb Richter
(Dr. Richter is a practicing family physician and addiction medicine specialist.)

Machavern a diligent worker in variety of roles for 30 years

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to express my strong support for Patrice Machavern for the two-year term on our Charlotte Selectboard.

I have known and worked with Machavern for 30 years in a variety of capacities. She has always been ready and willing to give her time and energy to our town. She worked diligently on the Charlotte Children’s Center board with me as the board strove to improve the program and complete the expansion project.

As a member of the PTO board she selflessly gave her time and energy volunteering for countless fundraisers, book fairs and annual school barbecues, always ready to roll up her sleeves and pitch in. Always finding the time to go the extra mile to get things done.

She served on the Charlotte Central School board when I chaired the PTO, and she was always willing to support the PTO efforts to confront tough issues, not just the budget, but also bullying and a healthcare model at Charlotte Central School that needed to be brought into compliance with state standards.

Her tenure on the school board was 10 years. In all the school board meetings I attended, never once was she not totally prepared and completely engaged in getting the job done. She has incredible organizational skills and will follow up on any question in a timely manner, ready to put in the time to do the necessary research it may require.

Most recently, I had the opportunity to see her dedication and skills again as we worked together on the Board of Civil Authority. In addition, she has volunteered at the polls and helped in the tedious job of counting ballots for years.

She has been the treasurer of a variety of local organizations and for the last 10 years has served as the business operations manager for the Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service. This knowledge base and experience is a strong asset for the selectboard as this organization transitions to a town-run service.

She has acute analytical skills, excellent tech skills and her attention to detail is impeccable, however, she always has a clear view of the big picture. All of these things would be extremely helpful in the budget process.

Her expertise, dedication and willingness to take on the little things and the big thing and her ability to always find the time it takes to get the work done makes her the right choice to be voted on to our selectboard.

Peggy Sharpe

Machavern will bring fresh perspective to selectboard

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Patrice Machavern as a candidate for a two-year term on the Charlotte Selectboard.

Machavern is devoted to Charlotte and for years has served the town in multiple ways including the Charlotte Central School board and as business manager and board member with Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service where I worked with her.

My observations of Machavern are the following:
• She is an independent thinker and at the same time works constructively in a group.
• She has a strong practical business and budget setting background.
• She was always well prepared by researching the best options at decision crossroads.
• She is an articulate plain speaker.
• She has depth of experience and is certified in human resources management.

Machavern is goal oriented and will approach governance with what is best for Charlotte overall in mind. I am confident she will challenge conventional thinking and will help guide our town very capably. She will be able to bring fresh perspective.

For the benefit of our town please vote for Patrice Machavern!

Tom Cosinuke