On August 2, 2018 there was Selectboard meeting in Newport Center, VT. Barry Sahagian was on the agenda discussing an alleged conflict of interest situation involving service contracts the town has with Newport Ambulance Services. Sue Barrup wife of Steve Barrup (Selectboard Chair) is employed by Newport Ambulance Services According to a tax return filed by NAS in 2016. Sue Barrup is the secretary for the organization and receives an annual stipend salary amount of $3000 for working one hour a week.

Steve Barrup has been involved in discussion and negotiation of the contracts for the past several years assisting NAS in getting the contract on warning of the annual town meetings. In 2017 during a meeting discussing the proposed contract It was suggested to Steve Barrup by the Town Clerk/Manager Denise Daigle that he might recuse himself from actions/discussion they were having with Michael Paradis (executive director) and Charles Pronto (President) of Newport Ambulance Services. ….Steve Barrup ignored the suggestion.

In 2016 the negotiations the selectboard and NAS arrived at was to place a $36,000 service contract on the town meeting warning

In 2017 the negotiations the selectboard and NAS arrived at was increased an additional $10,000 to $46,000 to be put on the town meeting warning. The contracts were voted in both years despite the selectboard unwillingness to provide details of the contract. In two instances. One of which Gerry Waterman adjourned a meeting when residents asked for details a formal complaint was filed on record and video taped of this in violation of Open Meeting law.

Another instance Steve Barrup told a resident ” They are a private company and what you need to do is go and ask NAS yourself if you want more information also on record and video taped on this website. Newport Ambulance Services is not a private company. They are a public non profit corporation accountable by making their tax returns open to the public (Form 990). It is also notated on their tax return that they are indeed public. Form 990 is required by the IRS and Vermont State Government.

The question would be, was the statement Steve Barrup made at the meeting aforementioned willful or was it his lack knowing the laws? One might presume it that it was willful given the fact his wife works at the organization as secretary.

Both instances were also non compliant of open Meeting Law and Vermont Constitution

1 V.S.A. 311. (a) Declaration of public policy
“…public commissions, boards and councils and other public agencies in this state exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and are accountable to them …”

They do not want to be accountable on this and provide the voters clear details so they can be informed to vote on this substantial amount for the NAS service contract which surely increase their taxes.