Opinion Editorial: August 1999
Appreciating Vermont's Local Officials
Deborah Markowitz, Secretary of State
“Far and away the best prize
that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt, 1903
When Teddy Roosevelt included these words in his speech at
the State Fair in Syracuse, New York almost a century ago he could have been
speaking of Vermont’s many hardworking local officials. Our municipal officials
devote their free time to everything from hearing zoning disputes and writing
land use plans to assessing the value of property in the town and collecting
delinquent taxes. They serve for the chance to “work hard at work worth doing.”
Without them, our communities would not function and our system of self
government would come to a stand-still.
In the next month the Secretary of State’s Office will be
launching a program called the Vermont Public Service Awards. The
Vermont Public Service Awards program is designed to honor local officials
who have provided their communities with 20 or more years of service. In
addition to recognizing our long serving local officials, it is our hope that by
highlighting the vital role our public servants play in our towns, we can
encourage others to serve.
Over the course of the year we will be going to each county
in Vermont to hold a ceremony and to present certificates of recognition to the
qualifying local officials. We will be starting in Orleans County with an
awards presentation scheduled on September 15 at the Elks Club in Derby. Thanks
to the extraordinary help of the town clerks in Orleans County we have already
identified over 60 honorees!
To qualify for the Vermont Public Service Award an
individual must have served as a local official for 20 or more years. The
individual need not currently be in office. For more information, or to let us
know of a local official who should be recognized in your town, please contact
our office at 1-800-439-8683.
Honoring the efforts of Vermont’s local officials is an
important step toward building stronger communities. Let’s all extend our
gratitude for the hard work our local officials do to make our communities and
the state of Vermont a better place!
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