Rutland Mayor Urges Aldermen To Release Report On His Conduct

Sep 13, 2016

Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras wants members of the city’s Board of Aldermen to make public the results of a formal review of his conduct.

The Board of Aldermen asked the city attorney to determine whether Louras had violated the city’s charter when he sought to make Rutland the state’s newest refugee resettlement community.  

Rutland City Attorney Charles Romeo emailed copies of his 26-page report to members of the Board of Aldermen on Sunday.  

Louras says he didn’t get a copy and doesn’t know what it contains. Because of attorney client privilege, the report cannot be released to non-board members or the public without the board’s approval.

But Louras says because so many people have accused him of not being transparent with regard to the refugee issue, he's called for a special Board of Aldermen meeting tonight, Tuesday, at 5:15 p.m., to urge the board to vote on the issue and release the report to the public.

Board of Aldermen member Vanessa Robertson would not discuss the contents of the report, but says she will vote to make it available to the public and agrees that more transparency is better.

According to an article on VTDigger.org, sources confirm the report clears the mayor. That apparent leak angered several board members, including Sharon Davis and Tom DePoy, who felt the information should remain privileged until the board has a chance to go over it and vote.  

Davis says the report was done well and she's eager to release it, but she says the conclusions are more complicated and she's got questions.

Depoy agrees and says the mayor’s demand for an special meeting tonight 15 minutes before a scheduled committee meeting did not give the board enough time to discuss the matter, especially considering city attorney Charles Romeo is not expected to attend.

“I would like to go and sit down with Charles, either one on one or as a board in executive session and go over the report because there are a lot of questions that I know that I have and that other members of the board have,” said DePoy.

Board President William Notte wasn’t willing to comment on the report’s contents, but says he does feel it should be available to the public. 

Nonetheless, he says the mayor’s call for a special meeting tonight to hurry up a vote on the issue was needlessly heavy-handed.  He says he had planned on putting the report on the agenda at next Monday’s regular board meeting, thereby giving the aldermen another week to go through it and get any questions answered.   

“I don’t think there are aldermen who are saying let’s not make this public because I don’t like what it says. I think there are aldermen who are saying I want to fully understand this before it becomes public document that I am expected to discuss with my constituents.” says Notte.

Louras disagrees and says it's more important for the public to understand the report than the board of aldermen.