Police chief named temporary town managerBy Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | July 28,2012FAIR HAVEN — Police Chief William Humphries was appointed as the interim town manager for the next three months.
The decision, announced at a special Select Board meeting Thursday night, comes on the heels of Town Manager Peter Hathaway’s resignation earlier this week. He held the job for 17 months.
Select Board Chairman Christopher Cole said Humphries will serve as interim manager until Oct. 25, at which point he will resume his daily duties as police chief.
He said with the time constraints they have, board members looked internally for the temporary position.
“Bill has shown his leadership as police chief,” he said. “We look to have that leadership be key in this transition.”
Humphries, in his eighth year in the police department, will retain his current salary of just over $54,000 and will receive an annual $5,000 stipend that will be pro-rated for the next three months.
“We figured he is going beyond the call of duty for this and we believed we would include $5,000,” Cole said.
According to the contract, both parties can terminate the agreement with two weeks’ notice.
Humphries said he does not want the permanent job of town manager, but agreed to serve on a temporary basis out of loyalty to the town. He said he wants the process to move along so that the position is filled in a timely manner.
The board’s appointment received a mixed reaction from town residents, who felt someone not already working for the town should be appointed. Others felt the town should not have been put in this position in the first place.
“What is wrong with you people?,’’ Jay Brown asked the board after finding out Humphries was appointed. “You harassed this guy (Hathaway) so bad. If you had not micro-managed him so much, he would still be here.”
Losing a town manager after just 17 months, Brown said, is almost a slap in the face to the citizens’ committee that worked diligently last year to hire him.
The Select Board did not make a decision on how to handle the hiring process — through a citizens’ committee or using the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. The board is expected to continue to iron out the logistics during a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
In the meantime, the position will be advertised. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Aug. 31 at the town offices.
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