To The Daily Sun,
An informative candidates' night was held in Sanbornton recently in preparation for our town elections on May 13. We heard from candidates for selectman, Johnny Van Tassel and Jeff Jenkins, and candidates for other offices as well. I asked Jeff Jenkins to dispel a rumor I'd heard about his intention to be an absentee selectman during the winter months each year. He did not dispel the rumor. He confirmed it.
He stated that he will continue to take a winter vacation in Florida. Mr. Jenkins did not tell us the length of his vacation, but he believes that he can meet legal obligations by participating in the selectmen's weekly meetings via electronic equipment like phones or Skype. He believes this is allowed by statute, amended to reflect changes in technology. Legally sufficient or not, it is the voters' opinion that matters here.
Will he be away from his duties in Sanbornton for two weeks or three or four months? The undispelled rumors suggest the latter is more likely. He did not say.
Rare is the selectman who limits involvement to the weekly meeting. There is much more to the job than attendance at a meeting. Also, the town warrant has a proposal to restore our town meeting to the traditional date. Whether we continue our May town meeting or return it to the March date used by towns throughout the state, selectmen's activities are at their height during the winter months.
The voters of Sanbornton deserve to know how Mr. Jenkins intends to fulfill a selectman's duties. Jenkins answer at the candidates' night is not sufficient. Sanbornton deserves more than an absentee selectman.