Letter: Pownal owed answers on administrator's firing
To the Editor:
Thank you to Syd Smithers and Megan Randall for their letters to the editor regarding the termination of the Pownal town administrator and the actions taken by the Select Board over the past several months. They raised some important issues.
Executive session is meant to be used sparingly in open government. When entering into executive session, the board is supposed to give the reason. There have been executive sessions pretty much weekly if not twice a week over the past several months and the topics have always been vague: Personnel, legal.
Between these sessions and the cryptic "statement" released by Mr. Jarvis in the town newsletter, the town is crumbling under gossip and conjecture. There was no meeting where the board agreed to issue such a statement. Using a newsletter for one's own political agenda is not proper for a member of the Select Board. The statement appears to be a blatant effort to control the narrative and imply terrible things about Mr. Walker.
To suggest that Mr. Walker caused town office dysfunction is absurd. The town office has been dysfunctional for several years and there have been many complaints about personnel over the years prior to a town administrator being hired. Were these complaints formally investigated by the current board or past boards? Where are those complaints?
I do not know what led to the TA being dismissed. So, I cannot comment on whether or not it was warranted. What I do know is that Mr. Jarvis has been after Mr. Walker from the start. This is not rumor and innuendo. I have the emails to back that statement. Mr. Jarvis seems to have made it his life's mission to ruin another man's livelihood. I can only speculate that there is someone in the wings that he wants to see here in Pownal. Possibly the same gentleman who applied for the job and also applied to be the consultant to re-write the Pownal bylaws. That discussion in itself, challenging the BCRC, was very disturbing.
Did Mr. Walker make mistakes? Probably. Who doesn't in a new job? Being a town administrator is a very difficult position especially when he is being told what to do and receiving different messages from five current and five past bosses. It was difficult especially when he walked into a situation where some of the staff do not want a boss as they have worked without one for so long.
Was he evaluated and given a warning? Did the current board meet with Mr. Walker to discuss his job performance? These are the questions. There are not enough answers.
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