Entire Maine town forced to shut down. Why? Because their only clerk was denied vacation and so she decided to quit.

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PASSADUMKEAG, ME – A small town on the Penobscot River in Maine has effectively been shut down for more than a month. Passadumkeag, with a population of less than 400 people, lost its town clerk on April 7, 2022.

Christen Bouchard submitted her resignation for her role as the only clerk in the town after the board of selectmen denied her request for vacation. The reason they gave for denying the request:

“We didn’t have anyone else to fill in.”

Now the responsibilities that they were concerned would go undone for two weeks are heading into their seventh week.

So, lost is not quite the right word. it is more like they forced her out after giving her a veiled ultimatum.

According to Newsweek, Bouchard “also became deputy treasurer and took charge of licensing pets, registering vehicles, maintaining records and liaising with Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. She oversaw the November 3, 2020, election after just three days of training and two months on the job.”

Now, Passadumkeag cannot issue or renew vehicle registrations, conduct home or business inspection or property tax assessments, respond to rabid or abused animals, and numerous other aspects of daily life for the citizens of the small town. The town treasurer is scheduled to be in the office two days a week.

“We have been left with a mess from years of neglect and are doing as much as we can to get our town back in order,” first selectman Brad McKechnie said. “I do believe in time with the team we have, we will get Passadumkeag back in order and looking good, but it will take a bit and is going to be a challenge for sure.”

Apparently, running the town website was a function of her position as well. A Google search shows the website to be passadumkeagmaine.org. But that link redirects to a domain purchase website.

Bouchard told the Bangor Daily News that she was paid $13,500 annually to work 16 hours per week. It is unclear if those hours were spread out over a work week, or if she worked two 8-hour days. Also unknown is whether she received overtime pay for the additional hours and days she worked, or if that time was “donated” to the town.

What is clear is that Bouchard’s actual work performed never fit into those hours.

She was normally the only one in the office to answer questions and assist customers with the transactions they were trying to facilitate. She often came in on her days off to provide that coverage. So, when she asked for a much needed and well-earned vacation and that request was denied, the town selectmen forced her hand.

The town has certainly had to try to overcome a series of obstacles since Bouchard’s departure. For starters, no one is handling the responsibilities of code enforcement officer, which is required for municipalities under Maine law.

It is unclear what she has been doing since she resigned.

A LinkedIn profile under the same name shows a location of Passadumkeag, but has had very little activity. It shows her position to be a Customer Service Representative with Circle K, but absent dates, it is unknown if that role was prior to becoming the town clerk or after.

Report: Suspects in slaying of missing Seattle woman cut ankle monitors and skipped bond

Chief, entire police department resign – city leaders call the move “unfortunate” but say they’ll “be just fine”

KIMBERLING CITY, MO- If you are a resident of Kimberling City, Missouri, you might want to consider arming yourself.

According to KOLR in Springfield, Missouri, the police chief and the remaining police officers in the community have all resigned from the department, citing the availability of new opportunities and current pay issues. In other words, the city of just over 2,300 people is without police protection.

Kimberling city, located about 259 miles from St. Louis issued a press release on Wednesday noting that on August 23, Chief Craig Alexander turned in his letter of resignation. In speaking with the mayor, Alexander said he was accepting another position in a different community in order to better himself and out of a desire for change.

Thereafter, on September 1, another officer…Shaun McCafferty submitted his resignation, noting that he had “been offered an opportunity to better myself and my employment status.”

One day later, Officer Rutger House submitted his resignation with no reason cited, however it is believed that he is moving out of state, according to the city’s press release.

Less than a week later, the department’s only sergeant, Aaron Hoeft announced his intention to resign. In his letter, he cited staffing shortages and pay issues as his reasons for leaving.

“Unfortunately, the inevitability of having no qualified officers at the current pay rate and no police clerk able to assist in the administration side of running this department, I feel it would be impossible to do the job at the best of my abilities.”

The next day, the final officer…Caleb McCarty turned in his resignation, with no reason given.

The city noted that it was “disappointing” that the resignations were submitted on such short notice, calling the decision of the officers to resign “unfortunate.”

In the meantime, the city announced they have mutual aid agreements with the Stone County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the City of Branson West, both of whom have agreed to assist Kimberling City until they restore the department to full staffing.

The city said they have received permission from the mayor and the Board of Aldermen to conduct a search for a new police chief as well as supporting staff, promising to make those hires as soon as possible.

KY3 in Springfield reported that the Stone County sheriff said they would be answering calls in Kimberling City, with some limitations.

“Until then [the hiring of new staff] we will be answering all the calls in Kimberling City, we can’t enforce city ordinances, but any other calls we will be handling at this time,” Sheriff Doug Rader said.

He noted that in today’s anti-police climate, a number of police departments are currently short-staffed.

“It will be a struggle to fill the police department back up with qualified officers, but hopefully they can start working on that soon and get that accomplished,” Rader said.

The outlet said that McCafferty would be joining Chief Alexander with the Branson West police department, which came as a surprise to the mayor.

“I didn’t know there were that many openings in Branson West because we didn’t see any advertisements for police,” Mayor Bob Fritz said.

Fritz said that the city would move forward, and address pay and benefits in order to hire and retain new officers.

“We’re looking for officers, we’re looking for a new police chief and I think we’ll be fine,” Fritz said.

Fritz said he wanted to assure residents of the city that they are going to have their concerns addressed and are working hard to fill the openings.

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Last year, we wrote about the Knightstown, Indiana police department, where the entire department and the chief of police all resigned. For more on that, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

KNIGHTSTOWN, IN.- Just over a month after a majority of the police department resigned, Knightstown, Indiana’s chief of police has submitted his resignation, effective immediately.

Chris Newkirk announced his resignation Thursday, leaving the town of 2,100 people without someone to lead the department. The town is located 25 miles east of Indianapolis.

Newkirk said he was offered a sum of money from the town as “part of an agreement” for his “resignation and silence.” He offered no specifics what that was in reference to.

His letter, addressed to the Knightstown Town Council read:

“After meeting with Town Attorney Gregg Morelock today and being offered a one-time lump sum as part of an agreement for my resignation and silence, I have decided to resign m position as Knightstown Chief of Police.

This resignation is to be effective immediately. You can keep your money. My silence and or rights are not for sale and cannot be bought.

It has been a pleasure to serve the Knightstown Community as their Chief of Police.

Some Knightstown elected officials believe they can do as they please and simply throw some money at someone when they know that person has direct proof of their potential wrong doing (sic). Again, I CAN NOT AND WILL NOT BE BOUGHT!”

In June, a mass resignation of police officers took place, leaving the town with one full-time officer, two part-time officers and three reserves after disagreements with the town council, according to a local official. The total number of officers resigning numbered twelve.

“There have been 15 resignations in the last two to three weeks,” said Scott Spurgin, a Knightstown resident who is also a volunteer firefighter, and who noted that he had worked closely with local law enforcement agencies.

The resignations were sparked after town officials selected an interim police chief who had less experience than the officer selected by Newkirk, who was on medical leave for a shoulder injury. Officers said that a power struggle ensued after Newkirk’s leave.

The town’s Facebook page posted an announcement about the resignations.

“Recently, there have been some changes within the Knightstown Police Department,” the statement said.

“We, as the Knightstown Town Council, wish to assure the citizens of Knightstown, Indiana that effective measures have been taken to ensure that there is a law enforcement presence for Knightstown, Indiana 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Among the officers who resigned included the department’s only K9 handler, Spurgin said. He was concerned that his resignation would impact the capabilities of investigators throughout the county.

Spurgin as well as other residents were concerned the ongoing conflicts would result in the loss of more officers, as well as longer 911 response times.

“If there’s not an available policeman here in Knightstown…dispatch will have to dispatch a Henry County sheriff’s [deputy] and that could take up to 10, 20 [or] 25 minutes to get here. By that time, who knows what’s going to happen,” he said.

Numerous residents expressed their concerns on the Facebook page announcement by the town, with one saying:

“The community deserves an explanation [as] to why our officers left!” one woman said. “These were good officers who have done a lot for this town and them leaving the way they did means there is more that the town council needs to explain to the community.”

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