March 12, 2014 —
[The letter below was sent by Town of Tusten Highway Superintendent Glenn Swendsen to the Tusten Town Board on March 10.]
Dear Supervisor Wingert and Town Board,
It is with mixed feelings that I submitted this letter of resignation to the town clerk. I care about Tusten and have tried to give the job of Highway Superintendent 110%. When elected in 2011, I saw people were looking for something better. I tried not to let them down, working every day with the men, cutting waste from the budget, and trying to provide better service for less money. I could not have done this without the assistance of Steve and Karen, who guided me through the superintendent’s responsibilities and financial aspects of the job. Thank you! The Board—Carol, Andrea, Tony, Eileen and Norman—supported me, and I think appreciated me, too. Thanks also to Kathy and Dom, for all their help. And, of course, the highway guys.
I took the 2013 election landslide results as a vote of confidence in me and the way I have been running the Highway Department. This has been one of the coldest and snowiest winters ever and has taken a toll on the patience and stamina of us all. But everyone I met in the street thanked me and said that we have been doing a great job. To save the town money, I was out on the roads myself at night, since I am salaried. Most nights I was out at 2 a.m. checking and sanding as needed. Then during all the snow storms I was out every day with the men. Everyone who knows me knows that I never complain, I just do the job right.
Recently one of the highway employees resigned to take another job, and I filled the position with a person I had interviewed from the previous applications. One board member took exception to my action, which was in accordance with the Highway Agreement which states that the selection of applicants to fill positions will be at the sole discretion of the Superintendent of Highways. That board member wanted to create a hiring policy telling the superintendent how to perform his elected position, beginning his unwarranted abusive behavior towards me.
Last month that member emailed me and the board saying he was at the Narrowsburg Lumber parking lot and that he would be spending the night there since he couldn’t get up Irish Hill. An email exchange continued with several lies regarding ice conditions and the highway department. At the recessed board meeting on the [February] 24th, he admitted to not being in his truck all night. I asked the board to take action against this member to stop this abuse, instead they all said I did a great job and laughed among each other smoothing it over. Then they even suggested creating a policy, of having a highway person working until midnight when there is a possibility of any black ice or snow. That person would be me and I start at 2 a.m. My biggest disappointment is the board’s lack of action and allowing the lies to go unchallenged instead of setting the record straight. The failure of the board to support me has made it necessary for me to resign this position, since I don’t deserve the abuse that is being directed at me, and I expect it will continue.
My last day will be March 25, 2014. I am sure that the board will find someone else who can do the job. I have heard that you have already been approaching people.
I want to thank all the people who had confidence in me and elected me to this position. I hope I didn’t let you down and needed to explain why I am leaving.