In a stunning 2/1/decision the Egremont Marsupial Court ruled in favor of Chief Bucknell. I wouldn’t say that the chief won; but Charlie did lose. As in times past Charlie rushed to motion the board to either demand the resignation of Chief Bucknell or fire her. Apparently Charlie didn’t hear the chief’s attorney discredit each and every charge that the BoS lodged against her. The other board members decided to negotiate a treaty of sorts in order to save the town from not only a lot of embarrassment but a massive lawsuit. Although I do have to say that Charlie was a man of his word and let Reena’s attorney answer each and every charge. So Charlie, when you do the right thing I don’t mind posting it.
I say that the chief didn’t win because you can’t really undo what was done to her reputation. However, Reena only asked that she be restored to her rightful place as chief and be allowed to make a gracious exit from her station. According to the agreement as I heard it the chief will come back under certain conditions which have not yet been decided. Within two weeks the BoS have to develop a course of hoops for the chief to jump through. The chief then has until October 31st to jump through all of the hoops. If Reena can successfully maneuver through the obstacle course she will be retained and allowed to retire by December 31st.
Reena started by making a passionate statement defending her 15 year tenure as the police chief. There can be no doubt that the chief had a great deal of love and appreciation for the people of Egremont. She voiced her dismay at being treated so horribly by the people she served so well for so long. It must have been like a bad dream that she couldn’t awake from. In her fifteen years of service she never had a poor job performance report or a letter of reprimand. She was summarily dismissed on the baseless petty accusations of seven disgruntled officers; most of whom were on the job for only a few months; and many of whom are no longer on the force.
In listening to Chief Bucknell’s statement I was reminded of what a small town police chief is supposed to be. I once said she had her finger on the pulse of the town, this statement proved it. One officer, who is no longer with us said that this Po·dunk town doesn’t want a police force, they want baby sitters for the elderly. My reply was that he finally understood; albeit too late. Reena explained that the community policing program was set up the keep an eye on all the citizens but especially the elderly residents. The so called hit list was no more than a list of people to check on to be sure they’re all right. Many of these residents appreciated the fact that someone was looking in on them.
Reena’s attorney, Michael Akerson, did an excellent job of unraveling the twisted mess created by the BoS and the police officers. He started by pointing out the obvious conflict of interest with Mary and asked her to recuse herself. In typical fashion Mary refused to recuse herself; but now it was on the record. After allowing Reena to read her statement Mr. Akerson then into full attack mode. He systematically destroyed every allegation and reduced the BoS’s case to what it was; a pack of petty lies and accusations made by petty people with ulterior motives.Fortunately by the end of the hearing some sanity was restored. Between the two attorneys’ the majority of the BoS were convinced to do the right thing and bring the chief back. The BoS struggled with how to word a motion to suit the occasion. After a few minutes Attorney Pollard explained that the BoS didn’t have to make a motion because in fact Reena Bucknell is still the Egremont Chief of Police. This observation seemed to bring the proceedings to a proper conclusion. I must say that attorney Pollard, who said he considers Reena his friend, was instrumental in bringing the selectmen to their senses. It wasn’t the best resolution to the ordeal but under the circumstances it will have to do. As long as Reena is satisfied with the deal then who am I to disagree?