Earlier today Bo (our 5-year old) asked me how long it would be until I was “fired from the Selectboard” of our town, Norwich, VT. Using the moment to work on math, we determined that I’ve been on the Board for 23 months and have 13 months until I’m “fired” (my term is up). As Chairman, I assumed him, I’ll likely be fired within the next few weeks when the new board is elected.
Tonight we approved our Fiscal 2020 town budget with little fanfare. The original proposed budget was hundreds of thousands of dollars higher and we did a painstaking review of the various accrued (designated) funds and took some calculated risks (using a combo of leadership input, historical data and common sense) to bring it down. While the budget passed 4-1 officially, in the end all 5 of us signed on the dotted line. Despite so many disagreements, misunderstandings, and can’t-make-this-shit-up conversations, we agreed.
Each of the 5 of us (Linda, Mary, John, Claudette, and myself) ran for elected office for different reasons. We haven’t always gotten along. But tonight despite moments of tension and WTF-ness, we came together not only on a decreased budget versus the past few years, but on some important climate change initiatives that I wouldn’t have bet a Buffalo Chicken Burrito would get approved.
Serving is thankless most of the time. Countless hours doing work that mostly people complain about… but once in a while you know its worth it. None of us can necessarily articulate exactly why its worth it, but we know it in our hearts and our guts. And we keep going.
I don’t know if I’ll ever run for anything again when my term is up in 13 months (and that’s assuming I don’t resign in a moment of weakness and frustration before then) but I’ll always respect those who serve others – immensely – based on my short tenure in small town government. Even when the room is empty, and we are deliberating amongst ourselves, it’s an honor to serve. And thankfully, in this town of 3,414, that room is rarely empty.