M/clear
43°
M/clear
Hi 69° | Lo 42°

Rowe Board of Selectmen accepts fire chief’s resignation

Refute some items in his letter

  • Rowe residents gathered at the town hall on Wednesday fora meeting  on the resignation of former Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr., who spoke to selectmen Walter Quist, Marilyn Wilson and Susan Gleason.<br/>(Recorder/Micky Bedell)

    Rowe residents gathered at the town hall on Wednesday fora meeting on the resignation of former Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr., who spoke to selectmen Walter Quist, Marilyn Wilson and Susan Gleason.
    (Recorder/Micky Bedell) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Former Rowe Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr. speaks to the Board of Selectmen during a meeting about his resignation on Wednesday.<br/>(Recorder/Micky Bedell)

    Former Rowe Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr. speaks to the Board of Selectmen during a meeting about his resignation on Wednesday.
    (Recorder/Micky Bedell) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Rowe Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Marilyn Wilson listens to former Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr. during a meeting discussing his resignation on Wednesday.<br/>(Recorder/Micky Bedell)

    Rowe Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Marilyn Wilson listens to former Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr. during a meeting discussing his resignation on Wednesday.
    (Recorder/Micky Bedell) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Rowe residents gathered at the town hall on Wednesday fora meeting  on the resignation of former Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr., who spoke to selectmen Walter Quist, Marilyn Wilson and Susan Gleason.<br/>(Recorder/Micky Bedell)
  • Former Rowe Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr. speaks to the Board of Selectmen during a meeting about his resignation on Wednesday.<br/>(Recorder/Micky Bedell)
  • Rowe Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Marilyn Wilson listens to former Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr. during a meeting discussing his resignation on Wednesday.<br/>(Recorder/Micky Bedell)

ROWE — Clad in his “Chief” Fire Department T-shirt and with many supporters present, Rowe Fire Chief Paul McLatchy Jr. repeated his reasons for resigning and defended his resignation letter “To the Townspeople of Rowe,” which was emailed to some townspeople before the Board of Selectmen got their formal, less volatile resignation letter.

Last Tuesday, McLatchy told Selectman Walter Quist that he planned to resign, but asked Quist not to tell anyone until he announced his decision at the Fire Department meeting later Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, The Recorder received at least two copies of the email by McLatchy’s supporters. McClatchy Jr. could not be reached for comment that day, but his son, Paul McLatchy III, confirmed the details of the letter and provided some information about his father’s 29 years of service to the department. McLatchy has been chief for the last two of those 29 years.

The letter to the townspeople said McClatchy was leaving because he felt he “did not have the full backing and support of the current selectboard,” and he listed examples of how he felt he was not supported.

“I personally was quite shocked with what was in it,” said board Chairwoman Marilyn Wilson. She refuted some of the items in the letter. Wilson said the board did not have a split vote on re-appointing McClatchy as chief and did not require him to notify the full Board of Selectmen whenever he was to go on vacation. She disagreed that McLatchy had to “fight to get officers appointed and then have (his) choices questioned,” and found offensive a sentence saying that read: “I do not feel that I can trust the majority members of the selectboard to tell me the truth when (I’m) speaking to them on a personal level.”

“It was a shocking letter. We have worked with Mr. McLatchy for 10 months,” said Wilson. “We have given him all kinds of support.”

McLatchy said he did not give his letter to The Recorder and that it was his supporters “who spread it around town.”

“It was not my intent to send it to the news media,” he said.

Quist said the awkward situation and miscommunication among town officials “points to a problem that we have, beyond the Fire Department, that I’m just tired of. If people have an issue, this is what we (selectmen) are here for. ... If people have an issue, at least have the guts to come here, rather than spread rumors. It affects everybody in town when that happens.”

Resident Gail May said she hoped that if someone comes to the selectmen with a concern that “you really listen. I know people who have come here, who haven’t been listened to.”

Selectman Susan Gleason said she felt it was appropriate for the board to respond to the formal resignation that it received from McLatchy and to thank him for his years of service. McLatchy’s resignation is to take effect Aug. 22, so he can help the future chief with the transition.

“This town needs the Fire Department no matter who is chief,” McLatchy said. “This was not an easy decision for me. I went into the Fire Department one month after I moved to town. ... I won’t miss the midnight and middle-of-the-night calls for medical and other emergencies. But, on the other hand, I was glad to take them, to not miss any.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbroncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.