Ward 2 Residents talking up Max on FPF

For those of you who aren’t on ONE Central Front Porch Forum, several Ward 2 residents have taken the opportunity to express their support for Max. They think his experience as an alum & current employee of UVM make him a great candidate to represent our ward and overcome challenges between the City and UVM.

You may have noticed a post wondering if Max Tracy would be able to represent Ward 2 in matters relating to UVM since he is employed there. YES, Max would be able to represent us and here’s why:

1) In his job as an Admissions Counselor, Max is in a non-managerial position and has no decision making power in terms of UVM policy 2) Even when the City Council does business with UVM (which is infrequently), Max would need to have a financial interest in the specific business before the Council for there to be a conflict of interest. It is hard to imagine when he would have this type of financial interest in City-UVM business. A conflict of interest clearly would not arise for typical “town-gown” issues such as noise complaints or housing.

In fact, I feel that Max’s employment at UVM creates a positive bridge with the city. As a UVM alum and current employee, Max will have a great understanding of how best to build rapport with students. UVM is a major employer in Burlington and I think it would be helpful for us to have a person who brings that perspective to the council. I’d also like to remind folks that Jane Knodell ably served as a city councilor for 14 years while she was a UVM professor. I am confident Max will be great on UVM issues and great for Burlington in general! I know Max prides himself on being responsive and I would suggest neighbors who have questions contact him directly at MaxforBurlington@gmail.com.

Thanks so much and please don’t forget to register to vote by February 29 if you haven’t yet. And I’ll see you at the polls on March 6!

-Megan J. Humphrey

In response to the question about Max Tracy having a conflict of interest in discussing/working UVM housing.

Housing more students on campus will likely benefit the greater Burlington community by increasing vacancy rates, and hopefully driving down rent prices. As UVM continues to grow, and even if it doesn’t grow significantly in the coming years, the student population creates huge stresses on the Burlington housing market. And lets be honest: some property owners take advantage of the fact that college students may be willing to pay extra for marginal housing. This seems to result in fairly expensive rent in some areas of town. Whats that word I’m thinking of, when working folks get pushed out of neighborhoods because rent prices increase? Oh yeah, gentrification.

I don’t that Max’s employment status with UVM puts him in a situation where he shouldn’t be allowed to work on UVM/Burlington housing issues. I think a conflict of interest situation really matters if the councilor in question is in a position to really benefit if her/his position is supported. In the case of increasing on-campus housing, I think Burlington benefits way more than UVM, or at least more than the admissions office where he works.

Similarly, maybe Vince Dober had a conflict of interest when he supported a partnership between Burlington and Lockheed Martin because he has worked with folks from Lockheed through his service in the Airforce. But I didn’t see anyone calling him out on that.

Anyway, I think I’ll vote for Max. Although I guess having worked with him in the past on various issues and knowing him as a friend, I also have a conflict of interest.

-Will Bennington


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