Selectboard Notables / History
by Ken Signorello & Irene Wrenner
February 10, 2021
Last winter the Brownell Library newspaper archives were the source of much compelling Town Selectboard trivia.
Our notes from those evening sessions led to conversations with folks who remembered Select men and women of yore.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this compilation!
Since 1950, John Bartlett was the only Selectboard member to serve three discontinuous terms.
Robert Whitcomb (served 1951-1957) was an active Harness Racer and ran the 640-acre Whitcomb farm at the end of South Street.
I.E. Clausing, who served in the 1950s and '60s, made the beautiful table at the Historical Society.
From Eva Clough: “[Clausing] was a carpenter, the beautiful table that we have at the museum was made by him and I have a couple of tall shelves unfinished that he made." [The Harriet Farnsworth Powell Historical Museum is located at 3 Browns River Rd and is home to the Essex Community Historical Society.]
Perry H. Towers, elected in 1970, was the son of R.H Towers and the only son to follow a father since 1950.
In 1972, the 3-member Selectboard became a 5-member Selectboard.
Bernie Parizo, who served in the early ‘70s and again in the ‘80s, also served as a Village Trustee, and eventually a state legislator.
Robert Kennison, first elected in 1970, is remembered by his son Brad as having explained that “the Circ Highway from Williston to Colchester would have cost $20 million. Compare that to the portion that was actually completed at a cost of ~ $60 million.”
Barbara Higgins in 1974 was the first woman elected to the SB and later became the first female Chair.
Jerry Firkey, elected to the SB in 1978, also served his community in other capacities, including Town Constable, Civil Defense Director, Zoning Administrator, Grand Juror*, Town Service Officer*, Town Health Officer*, Volunteer Recreation Director and Volunteer Fireman. (*Still serving)
Peter Lyon was elected by write-in votes 1981.
Ted Baker, was a Town Lister and Town Assessor before being elected to the Selectboard in 1985.
Marty Myers was elected in 1984 on a re-vote of a tie vote outcome. Linda Myers succeeded her husband Marty, the only Selectboard member to die in office. Combined, they served on the board for 30 years.
Over the past 70 years, at least one woman has served on the Selectboard for 42 of them; two served for 14 years; and for 5 years, women held the majority of the Selectboard seats.