Out West: The tow that just won’t end
The never-ending saga of the curiously towed town manager’s vehicle still hasn’t gone away, and since I’m occasionally accused of being guilty of sensationalism, let’s get right to it, shall we?
At the most recent Castleton Select Board meeting, while the board was signing warrants at the beginning of the meeting, Roy Newton brought up the $125 tow bill the Select Board agreed to pay at the previous meeting.
The tow bill was the result of Town Manager Charles Jacien’s vehicle being towed from the yard of a neighbor while parked within the right-of-way of North Road after Jacien had run out of gas near his home.
Jacien originally thought Castleton police officers were involved in the towing of his vehicle and said former Police Chief Bruce Sherwin had agreed to pay the tow bill even though it was later revealed the officers had nothing to do with the tow — the neighbor had asked for the car to be towed from the property.
But the board, having consulted with Sherwin and hearing that he did in fact say he would cover the tow bill from his budget, agreed they would honor that commitment and approved the $125 payment.
At the most recent meeting Newton told the board he thought this was a misuse of public funds and asked the board to reconsider.
“I come here tonight in hopes you’ll revisit the issue of the towing bill that was authorized by you to be paid last week,” Newton said. “I have nothing against the town manager. To me … this is a private matter between a citizen and the homeowners. It’s not a matter for the town of Castleton to be involved in.”
Board Chairman Joseph Bruno repeated some of what had been said at the previous meeting about honoring the police chief’s word.
“A lot of times, this board has to make decisions we’re not really comfortable with, but we’re looking out for the best interest of the town,” Bruno said. “The previous police chief authorized that. I called Bruno’s to be sure of it. It didn’t really settle very well with me and other board members. But, just to keep the town at peace, we went ahead and paid it.”
But Bruno wasn’t through.
He was perturbed that the issue of spending $125 would be brought back up.
“It really bothers me someone would come to this board complaining about a $125 bill,” Bruno said. “It cost each and every one of us (taxpayers) 5 cents. I understand it’s probably more of the issue than the dollars. I didn’t hear anybody crying foul when we spent over $70,000 to pursue renovations on 556. Not one person came in and cried misuse of public funds. In my opinion, that was a much bigger case than this $125.”
After getting that off his chest, Melanie Combs, a constant voice of calm and reason, asked if there would be any other expenses regarding the towing incident coming before the town.
I don’t want to speculate on what Combs meant, but I know that when she asked it, the thought that jumped into my mind was the alleged damage to the car Jacien said occurred because of the tow.
Jacien has said he submitted the estimate for the damage from a body shop to the town and hasn’t heard anything more about it.
Bruno said he wasn’t aware of any further expenses, but if there were, “we’ll have to handle them at that time.”
“Appropriately?” Combs asked.
“Yes,” Bruno said.
Read into that what you will.
Scultura su pietra
The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland will be featuring Italian stone carving Aug. 4-9.
Whether you want to learn about marble-carving techniques, or just want to experience the artistry involved, there are opportunities for both.
The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center is offering a six-day course in advanced Italian compass enlargement techniques taught by three artists including two master artisans from Corsanini Studio in Carrara, Italy.
In addition, there are five free presentations for the public during the week.
For more information, call 438-2097 or www.carvingstudio.org.