This article by Ed Damon originally appeared Jan. 9 in the Bennington Banner.
BENNINGTON — Town Manager Stuart Hurd ordered construction of a new, $425,000 sand and salt shed on Bowen Road to begin without waiting for the required wetlands permit, he revealed on Monday, potentially putting the town in danger of being fined or penalized by the state.
The action is being investigated by the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Compliance Division, the division’s director confirmed on Tuesday.
Hurd outlined his actions, and made an apology, in public session before the Select Board on Monday night. “I accept full responsibility for my decision,” he said, reading from a prepared statement. “I made it on my own volition without the board’s knowledge or consent, and I apologize to the board and the community.”
Hurd’s action was “not at the direction of the Bennington Select Board,” said board chairman Tom Jacobs.
“We were quite disappointed to understand that this activity was undertaken without our participating in the process,” Jacobs said after Hurd read the statement. “This is a type of management that’s foreign to us. We recognize pretty high standards and we expect management to meet and exceed those standards. In this case, it didn’t happen.”
“We have a very good project completed,” Jacobs said. “But unfortunately, it wasn’t done consistent with requirements of law.”
Read full story at the Bennington Banner.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)