"My only concern was finding out about it the way I found out about it -- through a political debate," said Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon.
Lauzon said he feels state treasurer Beth Pearce threw him under the bus. Barre is one of 14 Vermont municipalities on the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank's new Monitoring list -- a list the public was never intended to find out about.
The Vermont Municipal Bond Bank finances projects for communities across the state. In the past it communicated with Rutland about being on the watch list. The list highlights communities with financial issues that face extra scrutiny when they need financing. That's the list Rutland was once on, but successfully came off after Wendy Wilton took office. In June the Bond Bank created a new list -- one they wanted to keep private -- of communities that could potentially run into financing trouble down the road. Rutland was once again on that list, but this time around they weren't told about it.
In an email to Lauzon, the executive director of the Bond bank expressed frustration about the public conversation regarding the list saying, "'The monitoring list was intended for internal use only. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the list will be made public."
"I didn't bring it up. My opponent brought that up as one of her accomplishments in 2007 that they were off the watch list -- excuse me the monitoring list," Beth Pearce said.
By bringing that up during the debate, Pearce surprised Wilton, Lauzon and other local leaders. Lauzon said he's fine with being on the watch, he's not okay with being surprised for political points. "I think for it to come up in a political debate -- I don't believe is appropriate when it's an internal document," he said.
"You need to take responsibility for the full picture. I think voters are really entitled to the whole picture," Pearce said.
The bond bank held a board meeting Wednesday. In response to the frustration they heard from local leaders, they've changed their policy. Now when a municipality is put on a watch list they will be formally notified.
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