PARIS — Dan Nowell, former town highway department foreman, said Tuesday that his decision to resign Saturday was unrelated to the accident he was in with a plow truck that morning. 

Rather, unwarranted disciplinary action from the town manager and hostility from a small group of residents, including a selectman, influenced his decision to leave, he said.

“I was a dedicated employee to the town of Paris, I felt,” Nowell said. “I went above and beyond what I had to do as the director of the department.”

Nowell was hired as highway director in January 2010.

Nowell said he was put on sick leave for three weeks to receive treatment for a recently diagnosed sleeping disorder that prevented him from being the lone operator of a vehicle. He returned to work on Monday, he said. 

On Friday, Nowell said he was called into the Town Office by Town Manager Amy Bernard, who gave him two written warnings. The first, he said, was for incorrectly filling out his time sheet to reflect some of the time he was out sick.

The second warning was for leaving the road crew unsupervised while they were cleaning up a storm Monday. He admitted leaving the roads late that night, but said it was common for him to leave and he had never been told differently. 

He said Bernard told him she supported him “100 percent” even though he felt like he was being accused of padding his time sheet to escape losing paid sick time and being written up for something he did regularly without issue. 

“I didn’t feel the support,” Nowell said, “and I felt like if I didn’t play up to her standards for this storm of the weekend, she was going to write me up a third one and probably terminate me.”

Bernard, on Wednesday, said she could not speak to Nowell’s description of events, citing confidentiality of personnel matters. She said there was no supervisor, either the highway foreman or assistant highway foreman, on the road during Monday’s storm, in violation of the town’s procedures.

“If it really affected him that badly, he had the opportunity to tender his resignation that Friday when he supposedly spoke to me,” Bernard said. 

One of the selectmen has also been out to have him removed from his position since being elected in 2012, Nowell said. He refused to name the selectman.

“His only purpose as a selectman was to send me down the road packing,” Nowell said. 

He said Bernard often reminded him that the selectman was gunning for him.

“Every time I talked to Amy, it was, ‘You know, he wants to get rid of you, he wants to get rid of you,'” he said. “When you hear that so many times, you kind of feel like people don’t want me here, so why am I here?”

He said he mulled it over during the weekend and made his decision during the rainstorm Saturday. The accident, in which the plow truck he was driving hit a car and pushed it into a building on the icy Hebron Road was bad but did not cause him to resign. He worked four more hours on the road before calling Bernard to resign, he said. 

Bernard said it was “unfortunate” that Nowell decided to resign when he did. 

“It’s unfortunate that he decided to leave the community in that type of position, during the middle of an ice storm, regardless of any external circumstances,” Bernard said. 

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