SAGUACHE — Following a contentious town board meeting Friday evening where many residents posed hard questions to Mayor Greg Terrell, Town Administrator Pam Fye and town attorney Karen Lintott, Fye resigned effective Monday.
According to Saguache resident Mike Wheeler, who spoke to Mayor Terrell Tuesday, Terrell was “furious” about the resignation and told Wheeler he is “fed up and ready to walk away.” It is not known whether new interim town clerk Leigh Mills, who some say is a personal friend of Terrell’s, will remain in that position or not.
Fye’s resignation came following a visit to town hall by the town’s auditors Monday. Local residents reported Tuesday Fye and other persons unknown were at town hall until late Monday evening. Several Saguache residents have voiced concerns that something serious is going on internally with town administration that has not been addressed.
In a phone message left for the Center Post-Dispatch Wednesday, Mayor Terrell confirmed Fye’s resignation and said he is “trying to put things together for the town.” A sign at town hall Tuesday afternoon said the offices would be closed until further notice. Late Tuesday evening another notice was posted saying letters of intent for three vacant town board seats were due Thursday and would be reviewed when the office reopens on Friday.
Additionally, former deputy clerk Linda Ahrens announced Monday her attorney has filed a letter of intent to sue the town. Ahrens resigned from her position as deputy clerk last month after a confrontation with Fye. While Ahrens did not comment on the grounds for the suit, she indicated that statements made by Fye regarding the details of the incident precipitating her resignation were incorrect.
During an Aug. 7 interview at town hall, both Terrell and Fye agreed that Fye’s hiring as town administrator factored into the resignation of the four trustees last month and may be the main reason they resigned en masse. The circumstances of Ahrens’s resignation and the subsequent investigation into a complaint made after she resigned are confidential, Fye said.
According to comments made by those attending the town board meeting Friday, trouble has been brewing for a while in the town. Residents attending the meeting raised questions about why financial information has not been posted to the Saguache Crescent for months and asked the reason for the resignation of the town’s longtime clerk, Therese Garcia, in February.
Fye mentioned in the Aug. 7 interview that she was having trouble straightening out the financial situation following Garcia’s departure. Then she became ill in April and fell behind, she said. One resident complained at the Friday meeting that being ill and not attending to work duties “doesn’t cut the mustard.” Terrell stood up for Fye during the interview, explaining she was not gone longer than her current contract allows and was truly very ill.
Fye’s salary, previously paid by a grant, was on the list of complaints made by town residents Friday. It is not clear what will happen to the grant now that Fye is no longer the town’s administrator or whether the town will even hire another administrator.
In the meantime, town hall is undergoing renovation, water and sewer projects are pending, one town employee has resigned, three seats on the town board are still vacant, and the mayor is out of favor with many town residents, who feel he is not leading the town. Residents who complained last week about transparency are more in the dark than ever, and the future of the town, which seemed to be on the upswing, now appears to be in jeopardy.