November 16 2020

Selectmen Vote to Put Name Change to Select Board Before Town Meeting

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Board of Selectmen is one step closer to having a new name. 


Members of the board voted on Monday night to put up a series of warrant articles before the January Town Meeting to change the name from Board of Selectmen to Select Board. 


The change was first discussed publicly at the board’s last meeting when Town Administrator Paul Sagarino said they had been considering a new, gender neutral, name for a while. 


“We’ve been discussing the idea of modernizing the name of the board for several months now and we want to move forward on this at the next Town Meeting in January,” he said at the time. 


On Monday, Sagarino said that since first discussing the proposal, the town and members of the board have received multiple letters and emails from residents in favor of making the change. The only thing they had to decide now was what the new name would be. He suggested Select Board, noting that is what other communities have chosen, though he admitted it may be “boring.” 


Selectman Mike Runyan was the only member with a different suggestion. 


“Executive Board sounds better than Select Board to me,” he said. 


Selectman Nick Priest said he liked Select Board because it maintained the historic nature of the group, pointing out that in the past it was literally a board of selected men chosen by the community for public service. 


“I think that Select Board is the way to go, it maintains continuity with the other communities that have made the change and it maintains the historical aspect of the origination of the board itself,” he said. “And should an individual want to refer to themselves as a selectman or a selectwoman they have the option or they can call themselves a member of the Select Board.” 


Selectman Jim Tigges said he thinks modernizing the name is a good idea. 


“A lot of towns are shifting to the Select Board, I have no problem with that suggestion,” he said. “It’s 2020 so we have to think 2020.”



In the end it was voted unanimously to propose the name change to Select Board to Town Meeting. In order to make the change Town Meeting would have to approve three separate articles, including Zoning Bylaw and General Bylaw changes. Sagarino said the Town Charter may also have to be changed through the State Legislature.


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