ST. ALBANS TOWN – St. Albans Town planning commissioner and health care specialist Erin Creley announced Monday evening she would seek a seat on the town’s selectboard this upcoming Town Meeting Day.
“We found a community we could really find a home in,” Creley said during a regular selectboard meeting Monday. “I feel like the skills that I have and the training that I have might be a better fit for the selectboard.”
When introducing herself to the board, Creley, a health care specialist working with accountable care organization OneCare Vermont, cited her career as a manager in the health care industry and experience with the town’s planning commission.
In a follow-up conversation with the Messenger, she elaborated on her background, explaining she helped manage a South Burlington opioid treatment facility and its eventual transition to the Howard Center before taking on a position with Vermont Collaborative Care and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont.
Creley has a master’s degree in business administration with a focus on health care management from the University of Vermont.
She now works as a quality improvement specialist at OneCare Vermont, the accountable care organization coordinating the state’s all-payer health care model.
“It gave me a really good view of what Vermonters struggle with when it comes to health care,” Creley said.
Creley also said she felt her management background gave her listening and negotiating skills that could inform selectboard service, saying she could work with other board members to find “opportunities to collaborate and move forward together.”
“I think that being in a role where you have to work with folks who may not agree with you... but taking the time to understand their viewpoint and really hear them is a skill that I have,” Creley said. “I think that kind of compromise is needed when you’re working with other members of the selectboard or working with the city.”
She said she moved to Vermont around a decade ago for work, originally living in Chittenden County before finding in St. Albans Town a place “where I feel connected to the community.”
“I feel really inspired by the community that I’m now part of here in St. Albans Town and I’m so grateful for the warm welcome my husband and I have received since moving to the town,” Creley said. “It’s a place I’m so excited to tell my friends and family about.”
Creley said part of her interest in running for the selectboard came from the chance to engage with “other, bigger questions” not typically answered at the planning commission level, like questions regarding the lower tax rates and amenities that initially brought her and her husband to St. Albans.
“[The planning commission has] been an incredible experience to get to understand the workings of the town,” Creley said, “but as I’ve come to understand the planning commission, I found that some of the questions I feel like I want to ask are questions that are better suited for the selectboard.”
She also said she hoped to bring in perspectives from the rest of St. Albans Town.
“I know there’s lots of ideas out there from residents about the future of the town,” Creley told the Messenger. “I do not have one set vision to the town. I want to listen and incorporate that into my own viewpoints.”
There will be two selectboard seats on the ballot for town voters this coming Town Meeting Day: a two-year seat currently held by the selectboard’s vice chair Bruce Cheeseman and a three-year seat occupied by selectperson Al Voegele.
Cheeseman has since declared he would be seeking the three-year seat on the selectboard, while Voegele declared he would not be seeking reelection and endorsed Creley. (See accompanying stories.)
Like fellow candidate Jonathan Giroux, who announced his campaign over the weekend, Creley is filling out petitions for both seats and has yet to formally declare for either spot.
“I think the time is right for me to put myself out there and have the voters decide if I could be serving them better in the selectboard role,” Creley said. “A vote is a matter of trust, and I want to earn that trust from the town on Town Meeting Day and – if I’m fortunate enough to be elected – take that trust forward and serve in the best of my abilities for 2020 and beyond for the residents of the town.”