Brandon board votes out police chief

May 7, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES

BRANDON — The Brandon selectboard late last month voted to cut short Police Chief Lonnie Hatman’s three-year contract, which was due to expire at the end of June.

At the recommendation of Town Manager Keith Arlund, who would not reveal the reason for the decision citing the confidentiality of personnel issues, the four selectmen at the April 23 meeting — Kellie Patten, Bruce Brown, Mitch Pearl and Richard Baker — voted in favor of Hatman’s firing. Board chair Bill Hatch was absent.

Selectmen also voted to appoint Lt. Christopher Brickell as acting police chief.

As of last Friday, Arlund couldn’t say whether he had a permanent replacement in mind, or when town officials would begin to look for one.

“We’re evaluating the situation as we speak,” he said.

Brickell said on Thursday he was under the impression he would serve indefinitely in Hatman’s absence, which he described as “administrative leave.” This means Hatman will continue to receive pay — his annual salary, Arlund confirmed, is a little less than $55,000 — until his contract’s original expiration date next month.

Arlund added that the Brandon Police Department would not suffer from diminished numbers. An officer currently finishing his training in the state police academy as well as Otter Valley Union High School’s school resource officer will return to the force this summer.

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