By Patricia Minichiello
After Rutland’s application as a new site to bring 100 refugees to the city was accepted earlier today, the mayor said he’s in the process of forming a cabinet.
He said he has appointed a longtime member of the Board of Aldermen to the cabinet as the voice of a “healthy skeptic,” but would not say who.
Sharon Davis said publicly several months ago she was asked by the mayor to be on the cabinet. Davis did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.
“To be effective, he said, there needs to be a mix of supporters and healthy skeptics,” Mayor Christopher Louras said Wednesday.
“It’s extremely important to have the group’s meetings open to the public, but I also want to make sure that the group feels they have artistic license to speak frankly.”
Louras will announce the names of the cabinet once all seven members are confirmed.
“The most important thing is for this group to have real honest conversations,” he said.
Aldermen Tom Depoy has not been appointment to the cabinet, he said, but he continues to voice his concerns about the issue.
“There are people that have a lot of problems with Syrians coming here. They think that ISIS might be infiltrating into the refugee population. They’ve already said they are going to,” Depoy said.
“Are they going to act upon that when they get here? Probably not. Are they going to act upon it at any time? Well time will tell.”
The news of Rutland’s application approval came this morning in an email from Stacie Blake, director of government and community relations at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants in Washington.
She said in the email that the proposal to resettle refugees in Rutland has been accepted.
“We will work closely with the community to help refugees reclaim basic human rights and dignity as they embrace a fresh start,” Blake wrote in the email.
Patricia Minichiello is a freelance reporter and editor of vtpresspass.com. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.