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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Opinion
Walters: Jeff Bartley Resigns From VTGOP

Posted By on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 6:36 PM

bartley.cropped.jpg
The Vermont Republican Party has announced the resignation of Jeff Bartley as its executive director.

There had been indications that his departure was imminent, but party officials had refused to comment on the record. Bartley hadn't put his name to any VTGOP press releases since mid-December, and in recent days his Twitter feed has been resolutely apolitical.

Bartley had held the job for a little more than three years. Before that, the Colchester resident had occupied a variety of political posts. He was briefly campaign manager for Len Britton's unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2010 and was deputy press secretary for Rich Tarrant's failed Senate candidacy in 2006. (His tenure with Britton's campaign ended with his sudden resignation — followed by a lawsuit against Britton that he filed one week before election day.)

“It was a wonderful ride," said Bartley in a press release from the VTGOP announcing his departure. "I am proud of the team I was a part of over the last four years and what we were able to accomplish."

In the same release, VTGOP chair Deb Billado praised Bartley. “Jeff was part of a strong, successful Republican team that made substantial gains, and we are well positioned going forward to add to those gains," she said. "I wish Jeff all the best and thank him for helping to make a difference.”

Billado declined further comment. She will now be in the unenviable position of hiring a new state executive director for a chronically underfunded party with minimal paid staff, just as campaign season gets under way.

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Authorities: Bar Owner Embezzled $168,000 Intended for Charities

Posted By on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 5:45 PM

Nicholas Bermudez in 2016 - FILE: HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • File: Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Nicholas Bermudez in 2016
The former owner of Sugarhouse Bar & Grill in South Burlington has been charged with embezzling nearly $170,000 intended for two local charities.

Nicholas Bermudez, 32, allegedly diverted the money from the sale of break-open tickets — lottery-like tickets sold at some bars on behalf of nonprofits — into his own pocket, according to the state Department of Liquor Control.

The bar owner claimed to be selling the tickets on behalf of the Burlington Amateur Hockey Association and Jones Music Media and paid them a total of $6,510 over 16 months, according to the department. After an anonymous complaint, authorities learned he allegedly made $168,181 in ticket sales. State law requires that all the profits of break-open ticket sales go to charities or fraternal organizations.

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Lawmakers Question State's Approach to Parking Lot Runoff

Posted By on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 5:19 PM

Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore
The head of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources approached lawmakers on the first day of the legislative session to propose allowing developers to treat less stormwater runoff.

Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore told lawmakers on January 3 that the state’s standards to reduce polluted runoff from large developed sites should be changed in favor of more “environmentally efficient” regulations.

Moore also sought another year to finalize permit requirements that were supposed to be finished by January 1.

Lawmakers, frustrated that the agency has already missed its deadline for the permitting requirements, want to be sure that they aren't being asked to weaken environmental protections.

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Bernie Sanders Taps David Weinstein to Run Vermont Office

Posted By on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 4:26 PM

David Weinstein - COURTESY OF DAVID WEINSTEIN
  • Courtesy of David Weinstein
  • David Weinstein
Following the retirement last month of veteran state director Phil Fiermonte, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has named a replacement to lead his Vermont office: senior policy adviser David Weinstein.

The 56-year-old Burlingtonian has worked for Sanders on and off since 1984, when he interned for the Queen City mayor. Weinstein went on to serve Sanders in Burlington's Community & Economic Development Office and in his House and Senate offices. He has also worked for the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and for Oxfam International.

As state director, Weinstein will serve as Sanders' eyes and ears in Vermont, represent him at public events, and run his constituent-service operation. He has gotten a taste of the job before, serving as acting state director while Fiermonte worked on Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign and as interim state director since Fiermonte's retirement.

According to Sanders spokesman Daniel McLean, the senator finalized the promotion Tuesday.

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