Northeastern US Clerks and Treasurers Stand in Opposition to Vermont Lawsuit
We, the undersigned, are northeastern US municipal clerks and treasurers who wish to express our condemnation of the lawsuit filed in December of 2020 in the Vermont courts. The lawsuit brought by the Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company would, if successful, compel Vermont municipal clerks offices and town halls to immediately return to pre-pandemic open office hours in direct defiance of the Vermont Governor's call for limiting in person services. It also is in opposition to the power explicitly granted to town and city officials to take measures to protect their communities and staff from the spread of COVID-19.
In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, this lawsuit could have implications for the health and safety of municipal employees and members of the general public. It also places an extraordinary burden on those offices that have had to furlough staff to meet the financial challenges brought by the pandemic. It is also concerning that the lawsuit, if successful, could be a vehicle to force town and city offices to maintain common, full-time working hours even beyond the pandemic. Measures such as these would place an enormous burden on smaller communities and could necessitate significant tax increases in order to accommodate the additional burden of staffing going forward.
If successful, this legal action could become a precedent for similar actions across the northeast region and could potentially spawn similar lawsuits across the region.
As northeastern US municipal clerks and treasurers, we condemn this action in the strongest terms and hope the Vermont Courts will reject it as meritless.