Police sergeant returns from administrative leave (4/8/10)

Former Montpelier chief temporarily joins force

April 8, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

Detective Sgt. Bart Chamberlain has returned to the Williston Police Department following two-and-a-half weeks of paid administrative leave.

Chamberlain had been serving as acting chief. Former Chief Jim Dimmick suffered a stroke in July 2008 and retired last year.

Chamberlain was placed on administrative leave beginning March 18, following “allegations concerning the exercise of judgment,” according to a press release issued Tuesday by Town Manager Rick McGuire.

Doug Hoyt, a former Montpelier police chief, will serve as acting chief until the town hires a permanent replacement.

Chamberlain returned to duty on Tuesday as a detective sergeant, his regular position with the police force.

Chamberlain confirmed that he was on administrative leave, but referred all other questions to McGuire.

The town manager was largely mum on the issue. Other than noting the concerns with “exercise of judgment,” McGuire would not reveal the details of the allegations, nor would he reveal who made the allegations.

“I’m not at liberty to say, other than I became aware of them,” McGuire said.

The Selectboard met in executive session, which is closed to the public, on Monday night to discuss the personnel issue.

McGuire said multiple people reviewed the allegations against Chamberlain, though he would not identify those involved with the investigation.

“We are providing the information that we can,” McGuire said when asked if more details would be released. “Personnel matters … are matters that have to be handled internally.”

While Chamberlain was on leave, Williston Police Sgts. Brian Claffy and Scott Graham were in charge of the department.

“I knew this before, but it’s evident we have a good group of officers in the department,” McGuire said. “They’re hardworking, dedicated to the community.”

Hoyt began working in Williston on Monday. McGuire said Hoyt served in Montpelier for 28 years before retiring. He will earn $1,440 per week, without benefits, during his time in Williston.

McGuire hopes to have a permanent chief hired by July 1, with interviews beginning late next week.


Publisher Marianne Apfelbaum contributed to this article.