By Daymond Steer
OSSIPEE — Former Tamworth Police Chief Penny Colby, who was fired last month, is suing the town because she says selectmen failed to provide a reason for her termination.
Colby, of Albany, served with the Tamworth Police Department since 2008. She was tapped to replace Dan Poirier, who retired Feb. 1, by an independent committee. She was sworn in as chief Feb. 25.
Since being hired, however, she faced criticisms that she wasn't responding to enough calls, lived too far from town, was not a visible presence and may have been billing the town for time she didn't work.
On Sept. 17, selectmen, in a non-public session, extended Colby's probationary period from eight months to 12 months to correct an error.
Selectmen fired Colby in a non-public session Sept. 24. Selectman Jim Hidden made the motion to terminate Colby, with support from Selectman Steve Gray. Selectman John Roberts voted in the minority.
Colby's attorney, Jason Major, of Douglas, Leonard & Garvey of Concord, sued the town in Carroll County Superior Court in Ossipee on Oct. 13.
The suit said the town wrongly classified Colby as a "probationary employee" and was not given a written explanation for the selectmen's decision, contrary to RSA 105:2-a.
"The court should declare her termination unlawful as a matter of law because of the Town of Tamworth's failure to provide her with written specification of the reasons for her termination," the lawsuit said. "The Court should negate the termination as provided for in the statute for the same reason."
The lawsuit underlines the key provision of RSA 105:2-a, which deals with the powers and dismissal of police chiefs.
- Category: Local News