No inside track, mayor promises
By Guy Page
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger promises the city councilor who helped create a climate-related city job doesn’t have the inside track now that he’s announced he wants the job himself.
Burlington City Councilor Jack Hanson, chair of the council committee overseeing the Burlington Electric Department, voted to create the Net Zero Project & Equity Analyst position paying up to $100,000. Earlier this month he resigned his council seat and announced he is a candidate for the job.
“I’ve been very clear with him,” Weinberger said on WVMT’s The Morning Drive Thursday, September 15. “I welcome his application. I’ve been clear with him that it will be a competitive process. There’s no guarantees who will get the position at the end of it.”
Weinberger did say that he and Hanson agree on the city’s climate-related mission and that the position is a mid-range, non-senior level job. When host Kurt Wright said it pays up to $100,000, Weinberger said that Vermont utilities’ pay scales are different from the rest of the Vermont job market.
According to the city’s Help Wanted ad job description, the Net Zero Project & Equity Analyst “works to advance the City of Burlington’s transition away from fossil fuels by collaborating with community members, external partners and stakeholders, and other Burlington Electric Department staff to ensure that the Burlington Electric Department (BED)’s Net Zero Energy (NZE) initiatives are equitable and accessible to all BED customers.” The job pays $62,705 – $102,795.
The new hire will “manage projects and initiatives that advance BED’s Net Zero Energy vision, including advising and coordinating with other BED departments on equitable and accessible program design and implementation” and “identify opportunities to help advance energy efficiency and fossil fuel reduction among black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and other under-represented community members and work collaboratively to improve BED’s energy efficiency and strategic electrification program design and delivery.”
Hanson, a Progressive, is chair of the Burlington City Council Transportation, Energy and Utilities Committee. Weinberger said the city attorney would have allowed him to simply recuse himself from BED matters during the hiring process, but Hanson chose to step down to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
Last summer, Hanson was accused on social media of an alleged sexual assault that occurred several years ago while he was a canvassing director for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. Hanson admits an encounter occurred but said it was consensual, according to media reports. When the accusations surfaced, then-City Council President Max Tracy (who also has left for a city job) said the allegations would need to be looked into. It is unclear whether an investigation ensued.