Hartland town manager placed on paid leave

Staff Report

Published: 03-28-2023 5:54 PM

HARTLAND — Following a closed-door meeting Monday evening and consulting by phone with the town’s lawyer, the Hartland Selectboard placed Town Manager Dave Ormiston on paid administrative leave, starting Tuesday.

Board Chairman Phil Hobbie declined to discuss what was behind the abrupt action or what the next steps, if any, might be.

“That’s all to be determined,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

When reached at home Tuesday afternoon, Ormiston declined to comment other than saying, “I can’t speak on this at the moment.”

In a special meeting Monday, the Selectboard heard from a half-dozen residents, five of whom were critical of Ormiston’s management style during their dealings with him.

“The issue has been known to the Selectboard for several years and it persists to this day,” resident Gary Trachier said at the meeting.

Stacey Bradley, chairwoman of the town’s listers, spoke in support of Ormiston. The listers have a “good working relationship with him,” she told the Selectboard.

Ormiston has come under fire since a March 20 board meeting when Town Clerk Brian Stroffolino read a statement alleging the town manager had exhibited “aggressive, disrespectful” and other unprofessional behavior on multiple occasions.

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At Monday’s board meeting, Hobbie thanked Stroffolino, who was elected by voters for the first time in 2021, for having the “courage to bring up what you did.”

Ormiston, whose position is budgeted for $91,000 this year, has overseen the town’s daily operations since July 2017. He previously served as interim town manager in Norwich for a year.