PUTNEY — After some debate, on Wednesday the Putney Select Board voted to enter into a contract with the Windham County Sheriff Office for the town's community policing.
The Select Board explored the option of community policing through Vermont State Police after the WCSO rescinded the town's contract and explained it would offer 20 hours of service compared to the usual 40 hours. Members of the Select Board and the Town Manager, Cynthia Stoddard expressed that they felt there had been poor communication between the Board and Sheriff's office regarding this matter as well as the recent transfer of Putney's former deputy, Corporal Melissa Evans to Vernon. In addition, Stoddard and the Board questioned why why the newly proposed contract did not include Stoddard. And so, last Tuesday, Select Board Chairman Joshua Laughlin, Stoddard and Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark met to discuss some of the said concerns.
"The question of why the Town Manager had been removed from authority over implementation of this contract was simply because this was a standard contract versus the more in depth contract that we had previously had, (the proposed contract) was more of a boiler plate contract that they had pulled up similar to other contracts with other towns and it was not intended to take the town manager out of that contract," said Laughlin.
Stoddard noted the bulk of their conversation with Clark was around why she was not included in the contract. Stoddard said though she did not necarsily feel she and Clark came to a "complete agreement of how the issue came about," she diid feel that they fully heard each other's concerns. In addition, she noted the three of them also discussed how the Town and the Sheriff's Office will move forward with better communication.
"I feel like I was able to completely express how I feel about that and I think it was well received and I do feel that the communication will continue to improve," said Stoddard.
Despite any past frustration, the Board took the advice of the Public Safety Committee and entered into a six month contract with the WCSO. Laughlin and Stoddard reiterated that the Town would like to put out a comprehensive study in an effort to discover what the needs are for Putney. The Select Board is also asking the Public Safety Committe to meet every second Thursday of the month to discuss Putney's future needs around community policing and other matters.
In other business
The Select Board approved a loan of $100,000 at 2-percent interest from Merchant's Bank for the purchase of a dump truck to be used for Highway Department. The Board also approved a loan in the amount of $30,000 at 2-percent interest to purchase a truck for Fire Chief, Tom Goddard. Both of these purchases were approved at town meeting.
In addition the Board noted that they are looking for information regarding illegal dumping at the recycling bins at the fire station. The Highway Department cleaned up a dump truck load of household items, trash etc. on Friday, June 24, 2016. Anyone with any information regarding this illegal dumping is asked to contact Cynthia Stoddard, Town Manager, 802-387-5862 ext. 11 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275