Wendy Wilton’s statement regarding her candidacy for state treasurer and bio

For Immediate Release

Rutland, Vermont–Rutland City Treasurer Wendy Wilton announced her candidacy today for the office of Vermont state treasurer.  Wilton was endorsed at the event by Governor James H. Douglas, Rutland City Mayor Christopher Louras and Senator Randy Brock, who is a candidate for governor.  Wilton also has the endorsement of Vermont State Auditor Tom Salmon, who was unable to attend the event.

Wilton made the announcement at Rutland City Hall surrounded by 80 or more supporters, where she made the following statement:

“I am a native of South Burlington, a UVM graduate, and my husband and I have resided in Rutland for 23 years.  We raised our children here.  My prior professional experiences as a banker, business adviser, state senator and city treasurer have led me to this day. I am concerned about the direction of our great state and it is my hope that Vermonters will agree this November that my skills and talents are the best fit for the office of state treasurer.

I am seeking the office of state treasurer because I am concerned about the independence of the office and poor ratings regarding transparency and accountability.  As I have gone around the state discussing a projection model I developed regarding the proposed health care reform, it is clear Vermonters are seeking greater transparency on fiscal matters.

Three months ago in this very room I was pleased to deliver the first unqualified audit opinion to the City of Rutland in 32 years.  When Mayor Louras and I took office as reformers in 2007 the City had incurred a $5 million deficit and a ‘clean’ opinion seemed an impossible goal.  As of the close of FY 2011, the City now boasts a $3.8 million positive fund balance, a net change of nearly $9 million.  The unqualified audit opinion speaks to improvements in internal controls, primarily in our financial operations and reporting efforts.  Timely financial reporting that is easy to access has helped the city policy makers and the public become more involved and informed.

Throughout the state Vermonters have witnessed too often the fiscal damage that occurs when financial management is not independent from governance or when transparency and accountability are absent.  Auditor Tom Salmon assembled a working group of financial to make recommendations to the legislature to encourage greater transparency and accountability in local government.  I was pleased to be part of that effort.

An independently elected treasurer is the intention of our state constitution.  The key task of the state treasurer is to communicate to the governor and legislature that we need to satisfy our prospective creditors, we are living within our means, and we are completely transparent about our finances. It is imperative that the treasurer be as independent as possible from influence to truly represent the electorate.  I see gray clouds on our state’s horizon:  unsustainable increases in certain budget areas, excessive reliance on federal funding, systemic deficits that the state has been fortunate enough in recent years to plug with tobacco settlement funds or stimulus grants, and $2 billion in unfunded state retirement funds.  We owe it to our state employees, teachers, and taxpayers to manage the funds entrusted to state government so the money will be there when the commitments come due.

Regarding transparency and accountability, the state of Vermont recently received a D minus from US Public Interest Research Group, relating to state spending disclosure.  It is very difficult for the public and our lawmakers to access the state’s financial information in a form that is useful.  The citizens, management and governance of the City of Rutland have timely financial reporting that is easy to access and understand. The state’s lawmakers and its citizens deserve the same.

I made promises to the City of Rutland five years ago:  The city would achieve an unqualified audit opinion, timely and accurate financial reports would be available to all, and I would be an independent voice in the financial matters of the city.  Under my stewardship, we have lived up to those promises.

Current and future fiscal challenges of our nation, our state, and our local communities will demand strong leadership in these areas, whether mandated by future compliance standards or the public.  I have demonstrated a commitment to these principles.  If Vermonters choose me as their state treasurer I will serve my native state as an independent voice for transparency and accountability in the state’s financial matters, as I have done in Rutland.”

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Wendy Wilton Bio

Wendy Wilton has served as the treasurer for the City of Rutland since March 2007.  She has successfully managed the financial operations of the City of Rutland to turn around a $5 million deficit under her predecessors to a $3.8 million positive fund balance, and attained a clean audit opinion for the City of Rutland for the first time in 32 years.  As treasurer she collects of over $36 million in annual revenues, and oversees payroll and benefits for over 150 full time employees, and she is the administrator of the City pension system with $55 million in assets.  Wilton delivered a clean audit opinion to the City for fiscal year 2011, the first in 32 years.

Prior to her role as treasurer, she served as a Rutland County state senator, was a senior business adviser for the Vermont Small Business Development Center and enjoyed an 8 year career in small business and mortgage lending.  She is a UVM graduate (BA, Chemistry, 1981) and native Vermonter.

Wilton has served the City of Rutland, the Rutland region and the state in other elected and appointed positions since 1995 including:  Vermont Community Development Board, Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, Rutland Redevelopment Authority, Rutland Regional Planning Commission and Rutland City Board of Aldermen.

In 2011 she developed a financial projection model to explore the impact of Act 48, and specifically the feasibility of Green Mountain Care, and has spoken publicly about her findings.

On May 14, 2012, Wilton officially announced her candidacy for Vermont State Treasurer in Rutland, VT.

Wilton is 53 years old, married to Charles (Chuck) Wilton IV.  The Wiltons have two college age children, one attending Castleton State College and the other UVM.

Contact information:

Wendy Wilton

165 Lincoln Avenue, Rutland, VT 05701

Office:  802-773-1800 x231    Cell:  802-770-0743