Decision on status of Egremont Police Chief Bucknell postponed to July
EGREMONT -- Reena Bucknell's future as chief of the Egremont Police Department remains unresolved because a closed-door meeting about her employment status was postponed this week, according to town officials.
Meanwhile, Bucknell -- who has been on paid administrative leave from the troubled department -- continues to collect her weekly paycheck of $1,208.17, according to Select Board member Mary Brazie. Since the paid leave went into effect on Feb. 19, that totals about $19,000.
The town's Select Board was scheduled to meet Monday night in executive session on Bucknell's status with the department, but the meeting was postponed until July 8.
"Her attorney met with our attorney for a continuance," Brazie said on Tuesday.
Brazie and Selectman Charles Flynn did not give a reason for a continuance.
Bucknell has served as the town's police chief for 15 years. The Select Board voted to put Bucknell on paid administrative leave following a unanimous no-confidence vote on her leadership by department officers.
But Flynn said Selectmen will elaborate at a future public meeting why a decision regarding Bucknell's employment has taken so long.
"Investigations take time because you want to be fair to both parties," Flynn said.
In April, a consultant hired by the town released a report on the police department that highlighted red flags such as high staff turnover, financial "oddities," officer training issues, and antiquated policies and procedures.
The active eight-person Egremont Police Department has since undergone more tumult, including the resignation of Officer Jeremy Pilone, effective June 30.
Pilone's resignation was recommended by the interim Police Chief Brian Shaw and the Selectmen. Pilone had led the department during an interim period prior to the hiring of Shaw, a veteran of the Stockbridge Police Department.
Pilone was asked to resign after evidence-backed allegations were made of a leadership conflict, according to previous statements from Selectmen Chairman Bruce Turner.
Another officer, Hans Carlson, will remain on the force, though Shaw had recommended against renewing his employment. But Selectmen decided to keep Carlson on the force provided he work on corrective actions with superiors.
Turner has said the issue was over "police procedural conflicts."
On Tuesday, Shaw said his recommendation on Carlson had nothing to do with interactions with the public or arrests.
"These are more an issue between the new administration," Shaw said, declining to elaborate further.
As far as the hiring of a new full-time officer, Shaw said that it would be at the discretion of the Board of Selectmen.
Shaw was hired in May to run the department on a part-time interim basis for at least three months, but he said the commitment is open-ended.
With Bucknell's long-term employment unresolved, Shaw declined to comment if he would consider applying for chief, stating he was focused on continuing "to provide good public safety for Egremont."
There remain recommendations from the consultant that still need to be implemented, Shaw said. But despite recent controversies, progress is being made, he said.
"I think we're getting back to solid ground. We have good officers and it's all coming together. It's going to be fine," Shaw said.
In the coming weeks, the department will be using a listserv to notify residents about department events. Anyone interested in joining the listserv can email bshaw@
To reach John Sakata:
or (413) 496-6240.
On Twitter: @jsakata
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