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City Councilor Quits Her Day Job So She Can Vote To Select Burlington Telecom Buyer

Burlington City Councilor Karen Paul is quitting her job as a staff accountant so she can participate in the vote to select a buyer for the city’s telecom company.

During Monday’s City Council meeting, Paul announced she had a “professional conflict of interest” and would not be able to vote to select the buyer for Burlington Telecom.

She would not provide details about the exact conflict but Paul said during the council meeting that the conflict was not with either of the finalists looking to buy BT.

In an email to the city council and Mayor Miro Weinberger on Thursday, Paul wrote that the only way to resolve her conflict was to resign from her job and that her resignation would be effective on Friday.

“[A]fter eight years of working to address Burlington Telecom’s challenges, from its darkest days to where we now find ourselves, after this long journey for the City, BT and its customers and employees, I never imagined that I would find myself in a position where I would not be able to cast a vote on this most important decision,” Paul wrote in her email.

She had worked as a staff accountant at McSoley, McCoy and Co since January 2016, according to their website.

The City Council delayed selecting a buyer for Burlington Telecom during their meeting on Monday. Councilor Dave Hartnett pushed to postpone the vote after Paul announced she was recusing herself.

“At the eleventh hour, we have a city councilor who steps up and says ‘I can no longer participate because I have a conflict of interest but all along have case votes to get us to this situation.’ I don’t feel good about that,” Hartnett said during the meeting on Monday.

Initially the council decided not to delay the vote but as the meeting wore on into the night, the council decided to hold off on making the decision until the following week.

The City Council will meet on Monday, Nov. 6 and plan to vote to select a buyer for Burlington Telecom.

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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