Three books that document the organization and operation of town and state government are invaluable resources. Andrew Nuquist, a political science professor at UVM, published Town Government in Vermont in 1964 based on a series of Rutland Herald articles written between 1946 and 1948. As a reference manual for local officials, the book includes sections on town officers, finances, special districts (fire, water, and school), voting, conservation, and county government. Updating the articles for the book, Nuquist recognized how many changes and improvements had occurred. “In many ways,” he wrote, “this present study is a report on dying or departed practices, and may well be a swan song for the type of government it describes.” Two years later, Andrew Nuquist and Edith Nuquist published their monumental 644-page volume, Vermont State Government and Administration. The Nuquists describe and analyze government operations and suggest improvements. Although much has changed, students and researchers frequently consult both volumes to understand the history of state and local bureaucracy.
Thanks to more changes than the Nuquists could have predicted, a much needed and equally monumental sequel came out in 1999. The goal of Vermont State Government Since 1965, edited by Michael Sherman, was to “narrate a history of state government and describe current practice.” Twenty-nine authors contributed essays that cover every aspect of government and take into account the many changes that affected government operations from the mid-1960s to the end of the twentieth century. See also Dateline Vermont, Chris Graff’s listing of the top political events in twentieth century Vermont.