“Not enough hours to do both,” said a Milton taxpayer about Don Turner’s political aspirations.
Turner, a Republican, is Vermont’s house minority leader. He’s also the Milton Town Manager, and in May he announced he’s running for lieutenant governor.
He says if he is elected, he plans to keep his job as job as town manager, which he’s held since last fall.
Prior to that, he was the town’s fire chief.
A viewer who asked to remain anonymous, questioned Turner’s willgness to hold both positions.
“A lot of politicians are self-employed/have their own businesses so being in politics has no effect on taxpayers,” the viewer wrote “In Mr. Turner’s case, we the taxpayers pay his salary so he should resign as manager if he wants to play politician or his salary should be reduced by $$$$.”
The viewer called on the selectboard to “take action.”
Turner, who did not respond to a request for comment for this story, earns $105,000 per year as town manager, according to Milton selectboard chair Darren Adams.
Adams is supportive of Turner running for statewide office, pointing out Turner has served as house minority leader while he’s been manager and before that as fire chief:.
“Don has served as the minority leader in the house the entire time he has been manager and before that as fire chief. He has managed to keep Milton first the whole time. In fact in his short time as manager we have made significant progress on multiple projects not limited to TIF projects, road restoration, a new park facility and others. Not to mention he has assembled a world class team to provide support to our citizens. His current salary is $105k which is in line with other towns in the area. I’m confident the taxpayers are getting their monies worth and will regardless of his campaign or its outcome.”
Fellow Republican, Brian Dubie, knows a thing or two about working full-time while serving as Vermont’s lieutenant governor.
He had the title from 2003-2011 while also working as a commercial pilot for American Airlines.
While he was lieutenant governor, Dubie says he limited his flying hours to the weekend during session because the job he was elected to in Vermont was his main priority.
“The thing about being a lieutenant governor, especially with Blackberries and cell phones and all this technology, you’re working all the time,” he said. “I’ve never worked harder at any job in my life than being Vermont’s lieutenant governor for eight years. It’s a 24/7/365 job regardless of where you’re at.”
Political science analyst and retired University of Vermont professor Garrison Nelson said a lieutenant governor with another taxpayer-funded full-time job is a “relative non-issue.”
“While it may be politically costly, it is not illegal,” he said.
Vermont’s Secretary of State Jim Condos said he’s not aware of legal issues, except in the case of federal funding for the position.