City Councilor Glen Coburn Hutcheson essentially gave his three-month notice on December 11, meaning that District 3 voters will have an open seat to fill on Town Meeting Day in March.
Hutcheson, who has been a thoughtful voice on the council, is stepping aside after serving one term. He said the decision was based more on wanting to serve the community in a focused way, as opposed to the broad duties of City Council.
“I really do love being part of the community in this particular way, but it’s not a pure pleasure,” Hutcheson said of serving on the Council. “It’s got its ups and downs, and it’s one of many things that I want to focus on in my personal and professional life.”
Hutcheson said he would continue to serve in a volunteer capacity on groups that align with his interests and abilities. He cited community and economic justice, the homelessness task force, and the T.W. Wood Gallery and Arts Center as areas in which he might enjoy working.
Serving on the Council can require a significant time commitment for a job that pays $2,000 a year—reading reports, serving on subcommittees, meeting with constituents—and some councilors can suffer burnout, but for Hutcheson, it was the emotional investment.
“It’s the emotional intensity that is required by me, by my own ideas of what a city councilor should do and how a city councilor should respond, that’s what really tires me out,” he said. “I try to interact with the right degree of care and attention to every piece that comes up.”
Hutcheson said he was somewhat surprised by how much he enjoyed meeting residents in their home while campaigning and in his weekly “Open Ears” sessions at Bagitos to learn what was on people’s minds.
He said he learned a great deal about city government and the efforts and commitment of city employees. “It was a great education,” he said.
Hutcheson also said he enjoyed hearing the differing viewpoints of residents and fellow councilors and working to reach common ground. He sees public service as a kind of obligation for those who have the free energy to give to it and encourages any District 3 residents to run for his seat in March. Anyone interested in appearing on the ballot must submit a petition with 25 signatures from registered voters in District 3 by January 27. District 3 includes most residents who live on the south side of the Winooski River, such as Berlin and Northfield streets.