SULLIVAN — Russell “Rusty” Gordon resigned from his post as a member of the town’s Select Board, effective immediately, on Nov. 23. He served 19 consecutive years as a selectman for Sullivan.
At the board’s Dec. 13 meeting, Mikey Allen, a former member of Sullivan Fire/Rescue, stated that Gordon resigned because of the board’s decision to remove Ben Gilley from his role as fire chief. Gordon and Chairman Michael Pinkham voted 2-1 to remove Gilley on Nov. 22.
Town Manager Stacy Tozier told The American that Gordon did not give a reason for his departure in his resignation letter. The American could not reach Gordon for comment by press time.
After Gilley was removed, Tozier appointed Michael Pinkham II, Chairman Pinkham’s son, as acting fire chief.
Chairman Pinkham and Selectman Roger Wakefield voted to hold an election to fill Gordon’s seat on Feb. 14.
That decision was made after consulting with Tozier about how much time was needed for potential candidates to take out nomination papers and for the town to prepare for the election.
In his report to the board regarding the Fire Department, Pinkham II said that several members had joined or rejoined the department since Nov. 23.
He said that four members came back from a leave of absence, five came back who had previously left, two new members joined, one junior member returned, one junior member joined and two other members were potentially joining.
Two members of the department resigned, Allen and former Deputy Chief Jeremy Ogden, following the change of chiefs.
At the Dec. 13 meeting, Allen called the vote to remove Gilley “unlawful” and said the department missed seven calls in the last month.
Allen also said that Pinkham II violated the department’s social media policy when he made a post about the department on his personal social media page. Pinkham II said he was on a leave of absence when he made the post.
In other Fire Department business, the acting chief noted that the department was awarded $20,000 from the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation to put toward a boat. Ogden applied for the grant before leaving the department.
Pinkham II suggested forming a committee and reaching out to nearby departments that have boats to ensure that Sullivan Fire/Rescue receives adequate training to operate the new machinery.
Additionally, the chief shared that department member Ryan Daley was looking into forming a dive team, which could help with evidence recovery. He said the effort could be funded through grants and would be an asset given there aren’t many — if any — area fire departments that also have a dive team.
Daley commented that morale at the department was up since Nov. 23.
In other town business, the town is requesting proposals for a town-wide revaluation and for the building demolition and removal of the former Hastings House on Route 1.