Letter: Board following the law on Walker firing

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To the Editor:

There has been a tremendous amount of commentary and opinions stated about the recent activity of the Selectboard of Pownal in regards to the termination of the Town Administrator.

I would like to take a moment and give an explanation of the process of termination:

1. Any issue that involves personnel or disciplinary issues is not a public matter. Personnel and disciplinary issues are valid and legal reasons for use of executive session. We have been assured by our attorney that we are working within the law. Executive sessions for personnel matters are for the protection and privacy of our employees.

2. Anything discussed inside of executive session is privileged information. That means it cannot be discussed with the general public or even with other town employees, commission, board or committee members. There are specific penalties applicable from the Secretary of State's office that deal with these types of violations.

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3. Pre-termination and post-termination hearings are parts of due legal process offered to an employee facing termination. A post-termination hearing is a matter of litigation. The Board has no right to make these hearings public. Only one person can request for these hearings to be made public, and that is the subject of the termination. If a public hearing were requested by the employee being terminated, the Selectboard would hold the hearing in public.

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I understand how this can be confusing and upsetting to some individuals or groups who do not have the full context of this issue. However, everything that is being done is being done in the best interest of the town of Pownal and residents as a whole. Not just a section of the population, but all residents.

There are many issues facing this town. We as a select board are attempting to do our best at handling them. We seek to make decisions carefully, methodically, and with certainty that we are acting in a way that protects all involved parties and the town as a whole in every action we take.

We ask for everyone's patience and understanding as we do our best to address not only this issue, but the many issues that arise in town. We look forward to being able to make further clarifying statements and providing whatever information we can to the citizens of Pownal.

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Thank you.

Bryan Harris,


The writer is chairman of the Pownal select board.


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