New England News
4:39 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Waiting Game In Hinsdale

People in Hinsdale continue to pack Select Board weekly meetings waiting on word of the status of Police Chief Nancy Daniels. More than 300 residents have called for the resignation of Select Chair Bonnie Conner.
Credit Jim Levulis / WAMC

The waiting game continues in the small Massachusetts town of Hinsdale as residents have called for the Select Board Chair to resign.

The so-called venomous politics over a variety of topics continue in the town of 2,000, where police officers watch over the meeting room packed with people lining into the hallway each week.

At last week’s meeting, David Kokindo, the town’s former Select Chair, handed the Board signatures of more than 300 residents asking for the resignation of Select Chair Bonnie Conner.

But, the waiting game continued at Wednesday night’s meeting. Kokindo was hoping to force a special town meeting for a recall of Conner. But, according to the state’s Elections Division, the letter that was presented to the Board did not specifically call for a special town meeting. Kokindo says he and others will make sure everything is done properly and present a proper petition to the Board at its next meeting December 18.

“We’ll do it again,” Kokindo said. “It should only take us a week. We had a lot of people,” he added chuckling.

Bruce Marshall has been a town Selectman for 36 years.

“My thoughts on the petition…I believe myself that it’s probably going to have to be done again,” Marshall said. “That’s what I believe. It’s going to be done. It’s going to be done.”

While Marshall is confident another petition will be filed, he’s not sure what result it will have.

“Probably not a resignation, but it’s leading up to recall,” he said. “Everything that is being done now is leading up to recall.”

The efforts to recall Conner follow a meeting in November at which the Board placed town Police Chief Nancy Daniels on paid administrative leave. Due to emergency surgery in April and an ankle injury in the summer, Daniels has failed to complete the state-required six-month Municipal Police Training Academy needed to be a full-time officer in the commonwealth. Daniels appeared emotionally distraught after an executive session involving herself, the Selectboard, and the MPTC. Daniel’s attorney Mark Brennan says the talks have to do with Daniel’s contract with the town and her ability to serve as a full-time officer in the state. The Selectboard’s decision to place Daniels on part-time status has led to animosity toward Conner.

“There’s only one reason that they don’t support me,” Conner said. “If they don’t want to go to the website and read the state rules and they want to believe, and I’m going to out-right say it, if they want to believe lies that are being spread, rumors, innuendo and everything then that’s their choice. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

The town’s seven part-time officers are helping to cover Daniel’s full-time shift. Kokindo has said he will also present a petition to state lawmakers in support of a bill that would allow for the recall of elected officials if a petition is signed by at least 25 percent of registered voters who voted in the previous gubernatorial election. The bill has been referred to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Election Laws.