EGREMONT -- Reena Bucknell, the town's suspended police chief, and the Board of Selectmen have reached a verbal agreement about her future employment during a recent closed-door meeting, but the details won't be released until attorneys from both sides have hammered out a contract.
Selectmen confirmed terms were reached during an hour-long meeting on Aug. 12, and there could be some elaboration on Monday's Selectmen's meeting. At that meeting, they'll also be discussing a Sept. 30 special town meeting, which could include an article on continuing the contracted services of interim Police Chief Brian Shaw.
Selectmen declined to comment on Bucknell's future role with the department and how long she'll stay with the department.
"It's my understanding the attorneys are working through [it]," Flynn said.
The Board of Selectmen suspended Bucknell in February after police department officers voted no confidence in the police chief of more than 15 years.
In March, the town hired Pomeroy Resources Inc. to review the department and its report identified multiple concerns with the department under Bucknell's tenure: high turnover, police officer training issues, antiquated police procedures, and improper follow through on grant application provisions.
In July, Bucknell defended her record point-by-point before the Selectmen in a public hearing. Former Pittsfield Police Department Anthony Riello advocated on her behalf and questioned whether the consultant's experience running a large police department provided him the expertise to review a small-town department.
The Select Board and Bucknell have publicly met twice to discuss her future with the department. There's been disagreement about how long she should remain with the department and what her future role should be. Both sides have acknowledged the possibility of a lawsuit if an amicable agreement isn't reached.
Bucknell has stated she would prefer to return to the department as police chief through December and then retire; Selectmen have outlined 12 provisions that would limit her role to a consultant and she would be supervised while on town property.
In the latest developments, Selectmen Charles Flynn said the board's majority have "a handshake and approval" of terms that will be drafted out by attorneys. Flynn, who has been the most vocal on the board that the town should part ways with the former police chief, said he did not vote in support of the agreement.
Bucknell's attorney, Michael Akerson, did not return calls for comment.