Letter: Town needs answers on firing of Walker
To the Editor:
From what I've been able to ascertain (difficult, due to the Pownal Selectboard's lack of transparency), Town Administrator Michael Walker was fired for doing his job. It appears that his ex-military habit of going by the book made a few long-term town employees uncomfortable.
Case in point: Voters were given glowing promises about the new town hall. All the due diligence was done; all standards met. Now we're hearing that the state fire marshal had major problems with the variances submitted and the cost estimates for coming up to the fire code. Michael Walker called that one, brought it to the selectboard's attention before the election, and was ignored. Looks like the town hall is going to cost a good deal more than promised.
I voted for the town hall, and I don't like to be snookered, nor do most of Pownal's townspeople, I'm sure. Can we get a clear response as to how much extra being in compliance with state fire code at the town hall is going to cost? Are there other hidden costs besides the fire code? While we're asking for transparency, can we get some answers about what warranted Michael Walker's dismissal? The board comes back with "privacy," but it has smeared Mr. Walker comprehensively in the court of public opinion by not stating their side clearly, fairly, and publicly.
This town needs a Town Administrator and it needs a decent town hall. We voted in favor of both of these. But what good is a shiny new town hall when there is so much backbiting, deliberate undermining and resistance to the will of the people in the town office and on the selectboard? We saw this right from the start of Michael Walker's employment here. Why did Bob Jarvis, who did not want a town administrator in the first place, take it upon himself to micromanage Walker's every step? Why did town office personnel resist his work from the get-go?
We trusted you. Now the people of Pownal want answers — honest answers, not gossip and innuendo.
The writer is a Pownal justice of the peace.
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