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POWNAL — In the aftermath of a town report mailing error that resulted in a forced rescheduling of the town election, the Select Board has fired longtime town staff member Linda Sciarappa.

The board announced an executive session for possible disciplinary action toward the end of its meeting Thursday, and then emerged and voted unanimously to fire Sciarappa, the executive assistant, who had received some criticism during discussion Tuesday of the town report issue.

About 1,100 mailed town reports were returned by the post office because of incorrect addresses. The board then canceled the March 2 election because of a state requirement that reports that are mailed must be sent out at least 10 days prior to the election.

Part of the criticism from some board members Tuesday was that they were not notified of the problem until what was an emergency session was called. Sciarappa did not handle the preparation of voter addresses for submission to the report printer, but some contended that the reports are the responsibility of the board and therefore her as their lead staff member.

The mailing data was prepared by former town auditor David Adams, who was hired by the board as a subcontractor to help with the report. He said many of the address data pieces, such as names and streets, did not assemble correctly into correctly voter addresses.

Adams said he does not know how that occurred and he didn’t notice any problems before providing a computer file with the information to the report printers.

After coming out of an executive session Thursday night, the board issued as statement that they had asked Sciarappa to resign by Thursday, but she hadn’t. They then voted unanimously to fire her, apparently with 30 days notice.

The board then voted to offer a recent administrative assistant candidate the executive assistant position, and to offer the administrative assistant post to another recent candidate.

Sciarappa, an employee of the town for more than 20 years, could not be reached after the meeting for comment.

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont. Email jtherrien@benningtonbanner.com

Reporter/editor

Jim Therrien reports for the three NENI newspapers in Southern Vermont. He previously worked as a reporter and editor at the Berkshire Eagle, the Bennington Banner, the Springfield (Mass.) Republican and the former North Adams Transcript.


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