Controversy erupts as GDC formalizes governing roles

During a five-hour May 23 meeting of almost all 51 Gilead residents from its 17 households, details of the enclave’s government and operational rules of its governing body, the Gilead Defense Committee, were discussed, finalized, and voted into being. Most of the rules and procedures put in place are standard fare for democratic entities, but the one position and set of rules that caused dissent did so with no small amount of acrimony.

Jim Nash, shown here sifting through his spinach harvest, was elected GDC Chair at its first formal meeting.

Creation of the Treasurer/Resource Coordinator position was vehemently opposed by a vocal minority that saw shades of communism in its implementation. The position as originally strucured would have given that elected official the power to allocate timber, fuel, hay, and some other resources according to need. “It seemed like a logical extension of what we have been doing all along,” said Joe Tobiason, who was elected Vice-Chair of the GDC. “We have a dairy that’s supplying everyone’s milk-related products, and everyone is going to give something in return, if they haven’t been already, so this position would have just made it more official and organized.”

“This runs counter to everything we should stand for as a group of free Americans who are fighting to keep our way of life,” said  David Childers when the position’s responsibilities were first read at the meeting.

Roger Parsons said he agreed with Childers. A retired bank executive from New York City, Parsons is, by his own account, “trapped” in Vermont by the Pandemic Collapse, as he was staying at his home in Gilead to avoid the disease’s ravages in the dense city. “Am I to understand that I’m going to be forced to give up my property to people who don’t have as much?” he asked. “I worked damned hard my whole life for what I have, and I don’t think it’s right that because all of you want something I have that you can bully it out of me. That’s theft, pure and simple.”

Childers made a point of distancing himself from Parsons’ comments, however, noting that there’s a qualitative difference between their objections to the forced collectivization of goods. “Mr. Parsons has 150 acres of trees and can’t tell a pine from a hemlock, and doesn’t even use wood for heat,” said Childers. “Seems to me he just doesn’t like the idea of sharing what he’s got, which I find ridiculous, since his house is heated with propane that won’t even get him to Thanksgiving.

“I oppose the Resource Coordinator position because I know there are lots of folks in Gilead who chose to keep only enough firewood on-hand for a single winter, even though they have enough trees that they could have kept at least a one-year buffer supply,” he said. “I’ve been keeping a minimum of three winters of firewood on-hand for years, as well as keeping a good supply of food and ammunition. So have lots of other folks in this room, although I don’t know if they want to stand up on this issue. It’s lots of work, and lots of expense, to do what we do.”

Childers says that common human decency would compel him to give away firewood or other resources – or trade them – to folks who otherwise wouldn’t have enough. “I have no problem helping neighbors,” he said. “Lord knows, I don’t want anyone to freeze or starve to death over the winter, but I sure as hell don’t want anyone telling me who I’ve got to give it to, and how much I’ve got to give. Let us work it out between ourselves!”

As Childers made his case, other residents said they were starting to have misgivings about the Resource Coordinator position. “At first it seemed like something we really should do, but the more I hear and the more I think about it, I think it would just be a source of dispute,” said Mark Cohen.

Cohen noted that his family has relatively little firewood left over from winter, and has never cut their own. “So we might end up on the receiving end of someone’s firewood, or at least their help in getting it cut for us,” he said. “I’d much rather work it out with somebody one-on-one than have the GDC decide I get somebody else’s stuff. That way, there won’t be any resentment about it, and I can maybe trade access to our field, grow extra food in our garden for someone… or even just do some work for somebody in exchange.”

Tobiason reluctantly conceded that centralized coordination of resources wouldn’t work unless everyone were on board, but still maintained that it should be considered as a possible future option in case the diffused system doesn’t work. “It’s not like we’re talking about communizing millions or even hundreds of people,” he said. “I just think we’d have a more fair distribution of goods and services if the function were centralized. Yes, it could cause hard feelings here and there, but in the end, the resource coordinator is an elected position, so we can vote the person out if they don’t do it right. And let’s face it, there is going to be grumbling about a lack of fairness in how we do things without a resource coordinator, too.”

In the end, the position of Treasurer/Resource Coordinator (TRC) was described to include authority only over the goods that were acquired during the resource procurement run in April, since those goods were gathered through a collective effort. Those goods are stored centrally, in the Bennington/Lyon barn, except for the vegetable-oil fuel and diesel, which are stored at Eric Quinton’s Gilead Garage, and the ambulance and medical supplies, which are stored at Jennifer Godin’s home, since she is an Emergency Medical Technician.

The TRC will maintain the inventory of public goods and accept all requests from residents who wish to draw on those resources. Approval of the requests will be made by the GDC during its public meetings, so that any interested residents can object or support the requests.

After the controversy over the TRC position was resolved by the re-wording of its functions, the remainder of the meeting was relatively smooth and uneventful, with a series of unanimous votes confirming the following GDC officers and roles:

Chair: Run/moderate meetings, coordinate GDC activities, assign subcommittees and other work to GDC members, adjudicate disputes brought to the GDC.

Vice-Chair: Establish meeting agendas by coordinating with Gilead community members, handle relations with other communities, fulfill Chair’s role in his/her absence.

Secretary: Take minutes at all GDC and subcommittee meetings, post approved minutes, publicize GDC and subcommittee meetings by posting.

Defense Coordinator: Establish defensive strategy and tactics, formulate patrols schedule.

Treasurer/Resource Coordinator: Maintain a current inventory of public goods and establish and maintain a system for the use and/or disbursement thereof.

Those elected to the positions are: Jim Nash (Chair), Joe Tobiason (Vice-Chair), Scott Blackwell (Secretary), Rich Bennington (Defense Coordinator), and Don Brewer (Treasurer/Resource Coordinator).

The rules governing the GDC’s operation were also adopted during the meeting, with the understanding that although they are relatively simple and straightforward, they will likely become more comprehensive and intricate to accommodate new situations that come up. A brief summary:

  • The GDC makeup is confirmed to be of nine elected Gilead residents, at least 18 years of age.
  • All meetings of the GDC and any subcommittees are open and warned 24 hours in advance by being posted in three locations: (1) The large maple tree on the north side of Gilead Brook Rd. where the pavement ends, (2) the large hemlock tree where McIntosh Hill Rd. splits from Gilead Brook Rd., and (3) the large maple where Byam Rd. splits from Gilead Brook Rd.
  • A quorum of five GDC members, including at least two of its officers, is required for any official decisions to be made.
  • Parliamentary procedures will be used to run all meetings, discussions, and votes.
  • A simple majority passes official decisions, and a 60 percent majority must vote to undo any decisions properly made. Decisions can also be rescinded by a petition signed by 75 percent of Gilead residents.
  • Elections for all positions will take place every May 23, and there are no automatic term limiendstreamendobj338 0 obj<</BitsPerComponent 8/ColorSpace/DeviceRGB/FilterÅ•¤ .nàv reݍ î;æ£ !ΖbÉ쵈t õ‡òæše¿™9Á}i•«‘€Žù°Ç†‰e/A´ U´Ó5É-.¡›ó ̶«$Ö³QY‹t£ ÇðÉÆ|N$sÏñož<‡m®hs\:ÚÜ‹ûÛ™#w•îÙ¿Ý‘/F#½2¬™¸ Ë›,ÿ ¿IòŸœï|»¡Ø‹1kª[Ägu ƒ/§Ð  Uï¶szŒFL㐖/ù™ùŸkäoÌ­7ÉZց §uoo Í4r4²G-ß«°ØwÅió •£Ó˜Ç‹ñÓõ¹1‹, /ËïËýs[Õá1O?š.Ïé9- °D~<©µVlpÈÉ»‚ž³ùyÿ 8å¢Y½æ¿§+̐ºÁlTF [¥ ©•ê3 &é‡ùÛÈÞFò?˜´’Ó„“k7 K !‘ýXl/>JIÜS¹  šâËS1% ZÕ§˜uy.õKu•] Z ¹‰ ŠN v¯ðÌ] â“­  f¾hüÿ ü¾ÓtIçµ»´ó àH£{y ,ð˽ R:Ч>´5ö˳iNNAÛJ6Æïÿ 64ýSÊöšŸ•´Ãç 2N’4í Æ…:ЈÛ(†˜À´K
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