Montgomery wins constable race; Haff unseated for Killington selectboard
By Josh O'Gorman
STAFF WRITER | March 06,2013
KILLINGTON — Residents hit the polls Tuesday to unseat a selectman and elect a new constable for possibly the last time.
In a battle of innkeeper versus innkeeper, Patty McGrath beat incumbent Jim Haff for a three-year seat on the Select Board. Haff, who served one term, was hardly broken up when reached at Mogul's Sports Pub and Restaurant in Killington.
“I'm having a celebration party,” said Haff, owner of the Butternut Inn and Pancake House. “I'm celebrating getting my life back. The people voted and that's the way America works.”
Haff, who has exhibited volatile behavior at Select Board meetings as both an audience member and a selectman, expressed tentative support for McGrath, owner of the Inn at Long Trail.
“Patty said she'll work with everybody and let's hope she'll keep her promise,” Haff said. “I'll be there when the budget comes up again in November.”
McGrath was also celebrating Tuesday night.
“I'm happy. I'm looking forward to helping the town move forward,” McGrath said from a celebration party at the Birch Ridge Inn in Killington. “Right now, I'm just looking to change the way we do things in Killington. I want things to be more discussion-oriented and calmer.”
E.J. Willis, who was also running for the Select Board seat, received 40 votes. Willis announced she was dropping out of the race during Monday night's public information meeting and she encouraged residents to vote for McGrath.
“I'm glad Patty won. She's a great candidate.” Willis said. “I'm excited with the prospects of the town of Killington.”
In the other contested race, Whit Montgomery beat Mark Fiore for the two-year post of first constable by a vote of 331-119.
“I'm looking forward to serving the taxpayers, the second-home owners and the business people of Killington, now and in the future,” Montgomery said. “I'm glad the people recognized my experience, both on the job and in life.”
Fiore was upbeat in the face of his loss.
“Despite the outcome, I feel like I won either way,” Fiore said.
It will be the last time voters elect their constable, for the time being, at least. By a vote of 281-166, voters decided to give authority to the town to appoint constables in the future.
Voters approved a municipal budget of $5,093,080, an increase of $252,168, or 5 percent, compared to the current budget of $4,840,912.
“I think it's a strong budget that will allow the town to move forward and I look forward to working with the Select Board to make that happen,” said Town Manager Seth Webb.