Here's the deal, we all know Burlington has a Board of Selectmen, Town Meeting and Town Administrator and other boards and committees that work to run the town and keep everything running. What Burlington does not have is a mayor.
Now, we can't elect an official mayor, but we can elect an Unofficial Mayor, and that's what we're going to do!
The Unofficial Mayor is someone who volunteers their time, a member of the business community, a teacher or educator or anyone who is involved in the community. The idea is to highlight the good works and public participation of those who make a difference in town.
Last week and you came through with some great suggestions. Now it's time to vote. Below you will find our list of nominees with a brief description and a poll at the bottom where you can cast your vote.
One rule: Please do not write anything negative about any of the candidates in the comments section, or I'll pull the comment. Feel free to tell stories of the candidates, how they've helped you, how long you've known them, seen them around the neighborhood, and so on.
Here is a brief description of each nominees. Some of the information is based on the nominations, some is what we at Patch know and some came from nominees who added a bit about themselves. If you'd like to add more information for your nominee of choice, add it into the comments section below and we'll add it to the article.
Jack Annese: Jack volunteers at the , and he gives back to the community through Dare Day, the Rotary and many other ways. As one nomination read: "He really cares about everyone and everything in this town."
Herbert Crawford: Herb is a retired Burlington Fire Chief who has given many years of service to the town. As the nomination stated, his election "needs no explanation."
Joyce Deliyiannis: Joyce is a long-time volunteer who has worked to help those in need. She is the founder of Burlington's community group , which helps tackle the issues of unemployment, poverty, and general unhappiness. A few years ago Joyce, a hairdresser, decided to give up her day off and offer families whose bread-winners are unemployed, a free haircut, a story that was featured on NBC Nightly News Hour with Brian Williams. As one person who nominated her said, Joyce "helps with kindness countless individuals and Burlington community organizations."
Albert Fay: Al is a very well-known and involved member of the Burlington community. Among other things Al helps organize , has supported the Grandview Farm restoration project and is a member of the Burlington Housing Authority. Al received multiple nominations for Unofficial Mayor, with one stating "Al Fay! No one has done more good for Burlington!" and another read that "he knows everyone and he's been here forever."
Jack Ferren: Jack is involved in many organizations, groups and events in town. He is a 31-year volunteer of the Burlington Recreation Committee, has been the emcee for the movies and concerts on the Commons, the Annual Tree Lighting, DARE graduations and Truck Day. Jack helped with fundraising for the "Sunrise Trail," the town's recreation facility for people of all ages and abilities. He has also won many awards and honors for his work, including the 1995 Exemplary Service Award - Burlington Recreation Commission. Jack received multiple nominations, with one stating "No matter what event I attend I can usually find Jack Ferren involved hosting or behind the scenes"
Joan Hastings: Joan is Burlington's longest-serving Town Meeting member, being first elected in 1972.
John Mitchell: John is another resident who can be found participating in a myriad of events. He is the past president of Burlington Rotary and under his stewardship the group helped many great initiatives and programs, including annual donations to the scholarship fund of $300,000, food drives and Thanksgiving dinners for those less fortunate and funding help for Burlington's Special Olympics. John is also the president (or past president) of Soldiers Helpers in New England.
Kenny Pondelli: Ken is a long-term director of the Burlington Recreation Basketball program and has worked in many youth sports in town. He has given many hours to assisting and supporting players and athletes and has also supported the Grandview Farm restoration project. As the person who nominated him stated "He has given so much to Burlington youth sports for over 40 years. He is always positive, supportive and mentoring, no matter what the score is!"
Sonia Rollins: Sonia can be found at many activities and events around town. She is the chair of the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce and in that role supports many great programs, including the Burlington Community Scholarship Foundation, Project Assist, Burlington Pride Day and Burlington Recreation department programs and Burlington High School's Annual All-Night Party. She is also a member of the BHS 1:1 Technology Committee and she spearheaded the effort to donate iPad sleeves to all the town's high school students. One person how nominated her thought her work speaks for itself by saying, "Sonia Rollins, enough said!"