Since taking office in January, Gov. Peter Shumlin has taken regular respites — mostly long weekends at his chateau on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia — while at least one high-profile vacay took him to the sandy Caribbean isle of Dominica.
Shumlin was away this past Columbus Day weekend, just six weeks after the state was ravaged by Tropical Storm Irene.
Vermont’s Republican Party took the governor to task for his holiday weekend getaway, believing the gov should have stayed at home and used his bully pulpit to tout the state’s foliage to out-of-state travelers. The gov's staff called the charge "shameful."
Perhaps. If nothing else the vacation was ill-timed as many communities are spending their weekends orchestrating cleanup and repair efforts as evidenced by the calls for help from VTResponse.com.
For the record: Gov. Shumlin has an investment stake in 17 homes and investment properties — mostly in Windham County — aside from the Cape Breton home. Despite the many abodes, he is currently renting a spread outside of Montpelier that was originally the home of Republican Gov. Deane Davis as his primary dwelling.
This past weekend marked the third time since May that the gov headed north to his vacation home on Nova Scotia. Aside from Cape Breton, Shumlin secretly trekked to Dominica during the monumental March blizzard and has made a couple of out-of-state trips to New York, Washington, D.C. and Rhode Island for political and business events. When he’s in state, he’s no less at rest— often criss-crossing the state daily in one of his two taxpayer-funded, gas-guzzling SUVs.
All of this in-state and out-of-state travel makes the code name Team Shumlin has for the boss all the more amusing. Seven Days stumbled across the nickname while reviewing a recent records request.
No, it’s not “Shummy” or “Putney Pete” or “Gov” or even “Pete.”
Funny, right? Since “Global Positioning System” is used to help determine someone’s location, and Vermonters might find it hard keeping track of their gov on the go. So, did staff come up with this acronym because of Shumlin's constant jet-setting?
Chief of Staff Bill Lofy said the origin of “GPS” is far less interesting than the three letters may imply. Simply put, Lofy notes, “GPS” is the acronym for Gov. Peter Shumlin.