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March 09, 2011

Mystery Solved: Vermont's Gov Was in Caribbean

Dominica A tanned and rested Gov. Peter Shumlin today answered the question that had been plaguing politicos for nearly a week: He was vacationing in Dominica.

The reason he kept it a secret — even from staffers such as Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding — and asked his staff to keep it a secret until he returned is because he didn't take his two-person security detail with him.

In fact, he drove himself to and from the airport to his Montpelier home, Shumlin revealed.

"If I had told people ahead of time where I was  going, that would have defeated the purpose," said Shumlin. "There's no reason to hide it now."

Last week, top aides to Gov. Shumlin refused to reveal his vacation spot out of concern for the governor's privacy. In truth, Shumlin said, it had more to do with security.

Only telling some of his staff, though, left the impression that some top officials didn't know where the governor was holed up.

Shumlin said he was surprised there was so much prurient interest in his vacay location.

"If this is the biggest ta-do, then we're doing good, team," he said to his staffers during a press conference. "I understand this is a departure [from the practice of past governors], I understand that."

The governor took time this afternoon to thank Agency of Transportation, Public Safety and Emergency Management workers for their non-stop efforts to help dig the state out from a record snowstorm and deal with flooding. The recent storm was Vermont's largest March snowstorm and the third largest — ever.

At all times, Shumlin and others noted, he was kept abreast of the storm's impact and the state's response. "If I thought it would make a difference to be here, I would have hopped on a plane back," said Shumlin.

Shumlin said he made the call, this time, to go without security detail because he felt it was prudent.

Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn defended the decision not to send a security detail with the governor on vacation, but would not say if this would be the norm going forward.

"There was always a chain of command and clear communication," said Flynn.

Shumlin said he paid for the trip to the small island out of his own pocket.

Pictured: Gov. Peter Shumlin (l) and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn (r)

Apparently the governor has forgotten all about Mark Sanford and why people might not take kindly to their governors just disappearing for awhile.

Apparently some people grasp at straws. Of course, if you think that the state wasn't in good hands with Lt. Governor Phil Scott at the helm during the Governor's absence, just come out and say it.

What did people expect Peter Shumlin to do, clear I-89 with his breath? Use his secret superpowers to divert the storm? The state functioned. Roads got cleared. People hunkered down like they always do during a storm.

Still not quite sure why his staff people aren't trained to handle this situation a little better. Pretty assinine responses from his mouthpieces. Not a well oiled machine at the Pavilion Palace, and it shows.


Guys, let it go. He went on vacation. He's back. He won the election. All the haters shut up. Move on.

Whether Shumlin took a security detail is a pretty mundane and unimportant issue, Although he should have made it clear to the higher ups, like Spaulding.

What I have a problem with is him taking a vacation in the middle of the Legislative session after 6-8 weeks on the job. The Legislative session is pretty short, there are 8+ months to go on vacation, during the 3-4 months the Legislature is in session is just poor form. There is a limited time to do business, the Legislature takes guidance from the Gov and he should be there.


It's pretty brash to assume because someone is upset that Shumlin went on vacation then they are a hater and have sour grapes over the election.

Moreover, this is a public forum and if people wish to air their grievances it is none of your business, nor your place to tell them to shut up and move on. If it bothers you that much maybe you should heed your own advice.

Look at the bright sides of the issue:
1. Taxpayers were off the hook for security for 6 days.
2. Shumlin traveled on his own dime; thus taxpayers were not supporting his vacation. I assume he also was not taking the per diem during the six days; thus another taxpayer savings.
3. Scott probably knows more about snow removal and road clearance than Shummy anyhow; thus we all win again.

Seems to me this was a win-win situation for all.

Not taking his per diem? If he is the "multi-milionaire" that he proclaims he shouldn't take per diem or for that matter he shoudn't be taking his salary either. Cost cutt ing measures should include all state personell not only the public employees.

As other governors have, Shumlin went on a short vacation. The State ran as anticipated. He returned. The end.

Did anyone in the press ask Shumster who he went with?
By the way, JCarter - don't worry about Jenny. Learn to ignore simpletons.

People, stick with the topic, please. No name-calling. Just had to delete a couple posts with personal attacks. Thanks.

A little personal time and sunshine makes for a happier governor, therefore one better able to lead. I'm glad he's taking care of himself. Not so happy about some of the tax cuts, though.

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