More details have emerged in the firing of Town Administrator Fred Turkington with at least one selectman alleging the firing was “preplanned.”
The Board of Selectmen, in a 3-1 vote on Monday night, voted to fire Turkington, an 8-year town administrator in Wayland, without cause.
Turkington, during a brief chat in his office on Tuesday, told Wayland Patch his last day would be Aug. 28. He said he would speak out about the firing at a later date. Selectmen Vice Chairman Tony Boschetto, who made the firing motion, voted in favor of terminating Turkington along with Selectmen Douglas Leard and Ed Collins. Selectman Joe Nolan voted against the motion and Selectman Steve Correia objected to the motion and left the meeting before the vote was taken.
· The manner in which Turkington was fired has generated a heated debate among selectmen.
· Selectman Joe Nolan, during the meeting, alleged other selectmen had “pre-planned” the vote prior to Monday’s meeting. “I’m disgusted by it, to not even have a dialogue [about Turkington’s status].” He also stated that Turkington had traditionally received excellent reviews.
· On Sunday, Turkington, in an email detailing the agenda for the meeting wrote, “Selectmen will then review the town administrator employment agreement and job description in preparation for conducting his annual performance evaluation.”
· Correia loudly objected to the motion to terminate Turkington, saying he was not aware the issue of possibly firing Turkington would be discussed. The selectmen’s formal agenda stated the board would discuss Turkington’s employment contract and job description, but did not explicitly say they would be discussing possible termination. “I had no way of preparing for this evening,” Correia said.
· Correia yelled at Leard saying, “You should have found out what this agenda item was all about… This totally lacks transparency of where it’s coming from.”
PURPOSE OF FIRING
· Boschetto made the motion to fire Turkington, saying the town needed to go in a “new direction” with a new leader. “I’ve given a lot of thought over the past few months about the direction of the town and the town administrator’s contract… I believe this motion made tonight is in the best interest of our citizens and in the best interests of Mr. Turkington.”
· Boschetto added the move, which included one year of severance pay and benefits, would give Turkington time to find a new job.
· Nolan objected to the motion saying, “This is an ambush,” and added selectmen were not acting in a transparent way.
· Reached by Wayland Patch, Boschetto would not comment on Tuesday.
· Turkington, prior to his removal, had one year remaining in his three-year contract. He currently earns $152,500 annually and was scheduled to receive a raise to $156,300 on Sept. 19, according to his contract.