October 31, 2014

Town official cited with DUI

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By Kim Howard
Observer staff

Williston Zoning Administrator D.K. Johnston was cited Friday night in Shelburne for allegedly driving under the influence, according to Shelburne Police.

Shelburne Police Chief James Warden said Johnston allegedly was in the parking lot of The Furniture Place just before midnight at the time he was investigated.

“He was observed in front of the store, striking the building with something which turned out to be sales signs,” Warden said.

The signs advertising discount furniture sales of the Shelburne store were placed along main roads in various towns, including Williston, last weekend. The advertisements are illegal under Williston’s 23-page sign and outdoor advertising zoning ordinances; it is part of Johnston’s job to enforce those ordinances.

Chief Warden said it is not yet clear whether additional charges will be filed; police are still investigating, he said. Warden also said he could not release Johnston’s blood-alcohol content level until charges are officially filed in Chittenden County District Court.

At the Williston Planning and Zoning office Tuesday afternoon, Johnston said he has no comment at this time.

Town Manager Rick McGuire said he learned of the incident Monday morning from Johnston’s direct supervisor, Town Planner Lee Nellis. McGuire said he could not comment on the situation because it involves a personnel matter.

When asked if, in general, events that happen during an employee’s personal time could have an impact on job status, McGuire declined to comment.

“It’s kind of hard for me to answer that without drawing a connection to this particular case,” McGuire said.

In general, when town officials learn of an event that could potentially lead to disciplinary action, McGuire said, it is investigated to decide if any action will be taken.

“That’s the process we’re going to be following,” McGuire said.

Johnston is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 14, according to Warden.

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