At an emergency meeting of the Selectboard held on Sunday, Sept. 20, the board accepted the resignation of Maggie Tuck-Sauer as Town Administrator. Tuck-Sauer had held the position since July 13. The board also shut down the town’s fire department, and voted to notify the fire chief, Todd Capen, that they intended to dismiss him.
The Selectboard has held two emergency session in the past week. The first was on Wednesday evening, Sept. 16. At that meeting, which Tuck-Sauer attended, the board went into executive session from 8:01 p.m. until 9:56 p.m. to discuss personnel matters. When the executive session ended, the chair, Chris Parker, announced that no action had been taken.
The meeting on Sunday, Sept. 20 began at 1 p.m. at the town office building. The board again entered executive session “on the appointment or employment or evaluation of public officers or employees.” The executive session began at 1:07 and ended at 2:47. At that point, in public session, the board passed the following motions:
- JEFFREY DUNKLEE MADE THE MOTION TO ACCEPT WITH REGRETS THE RESIGNATION OF MAGGIE TUCK-SAUER AS TOWN ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE TOWN OF VERNON. Jean Carr seconded the motion. THE MOTION CARRIED.
- MICHAEL ROOT MADE THE MOTION TO SHUT DOWN THE VERNON FIRE DEPARTMENT FOR RESTRUCTURING EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. Jean Carr seconded the motion. THE MOTION CARRIED.
- MICHAEL ROOT MADE THE MOTION TO SEND A LETTER OF INTENT OF TERMINATION TO TODD CAPEN AS FIRE CHIEF OF THE VERNON FIRE DEPARTMENT. Jeffrey Dunklee seconded the motion. THE MOTION CARRIED
The meeting was then recessed, and called back to order at 4 p.m. at the fire station, in a public session with a group of members of the fire department. The fire personnel were informed of the board’s decision “to close the department immediately for restructuring purposes.”
Members interested in rejoining the department were invited to pick up applications on Wednesday evening, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m., and to return the applications by September 30. The board made clear that emergency coverage will continue, as follows:
- The Town of Vernon will continue to be well covered by area Fire Departments through area Departments and Mutual Aid.
- Rescue Inc will cover EMS calls.
- Those signed up for training will still be able to obtain that training.
- Certifications will continue per individual certifications.
Parker “stressed the Board had not taken these steps lightly but hoped the restructuring will produce a stronger cohesive Department.”
Finally, the board announced that all “gear, keys, scanners, pagers, radios, etc.” belonging to the Town. Further, “the building will be locked and no apparatus owned by the Town may be taken out. No personnel are to respond to calls (EMS that work for Rescue are the exception).”
In an email on Monday, Parker stated that the resignation of Tuck-Sauer was not related to the suspension of the fire department, and was received by the board prior to its decision to suspend.
The (draft) minutes of both meetings are available here: