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Tuttle, Jowders resign Sewer Commission over conflict

WILTON — Sewer Commission member John Jowders and Chair Jim Tuttle, resigned their positions Thursday, citing conflict with board member Tom Schultz as the main reason.

In his resignation letter to the town dated Thursday Tuttle wrote, “The assassination of my character and integrity by Commissioner Thomas Schultz in the recent election makes it impossible for us to work together.”

In an interview Monday, Tuttle said Schultz and he had been at odds over the direction of the sewer board and sewer projects for some time. He felt that he could no longer continue to sit on the same board as Schultz.

Tuttle alleged that during his recent run for water commissioner, which he ultimately lost to opponent Bill Condra, Schultz had made statements that questioned Tuttle’s integrity, and were false or misleading concerning his acts as a commissioner.

“He rejected any prices that I had brought to the board, disagreed with things I thought needed to be done, and indicated there was some kind of reward for me promoting certain companies to do various projects for us,” said Tuttle. “I couldn’t sit at the same table and work with him anymore, and we decided the best thing to do was to leave.”

Jowders was reelected to the sewer commission during March’s election after running unopposed. He said he regretted leaving the position after being so recently reelected.

“I did put my name on the ballot to be reelected,” said Jowders in an interview Monday. “At that time, things did seem to be moving in a more positive direction. But when the election came into play, that’s when things started to take a turn for the worse. I’ve tried to correct it by speaking to the individual, but it was unsuccessful.”

In his resignation letter to the town, Jowders wrote that there was a personality conflict with members of the board, which he perceived to be unprofessional.

When contacted, Schultz confirmed that he was scheduled to meet with the Select Board during its Monday meeting to discuss the resignations, but declined to comment further.

“I’m not going to give an interview or comment beyond that relative to these resignations,” Schultz wrote in an email Monday.

“I took a little pride in the water system,” said Tuttle. “I would have liked to continue to operate it, and eventually have someone who would be able to gain knowledge of how it all works take over so I could step down. I don’t think the people involved right now know too much about running it, so I think they’re going to get a rude awakening. There’s a little more to this than just going to a meeting once in awhile.”

This is not the first time a board member has left citing conflict between commission members. Schultz, who is also a member of the Water Commission, first joined the Sewer Commission on Nov. 5, as a replacement for former chair of the Sewer and Water Commission, Bob Duquette. Duquette resigned in October, citing an inability to work amicably with Tuttle as the reason for his resignation.

The Select Board has the authority to appoint members to the Sewer Commission in cases of resignation. The seats will be for election in March 2014, when they will be treated as open positions and added to the ballot.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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