And Wilson was not alone in his sentiments.
“They considered him a danger because he knows what’s really going on,” said Montville Republican Town Councilor Dana McFee. “They fired him, he’s going to sue and he’s got a case and he’s going to win it.”
Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel Jr. confirmed McNally, who has been on paid administrative leave since December, was sent a termination letter. But McDaniel declined to comment citing pending litigation which he said bars him from discussing the matter.
“This is very distressing news,” said unaffiliated Town Councilor Rosetta Jones.
According to statement issued by McNally attorney Jacques Parenteau, his client “intends to vindicate his rights and the harm caused to his reputation by filing actions in state and federal forums …”
Parenteau alleges that McDaniel used “the cover of a politically motivated, biased investigation” as the basis for the firing. The investigation has not been made public. McNally was placed on paid leave following two WPCA worker accidents.
But Patch has obtained documents that show the town was investigating McNally much earlier, beginning in 2010 and paid firm more than $4,000 to conduct that early investigation.
Both Wilson and McFee allege that WPCA administrators were “out to get him then.”
“Back in 2010, at a football game, Tim May (WPCA board chair) told me he’d get rid of Tom,” McFee said. “This is a disgrace, a total embarrassment. The mayor, the chairman (Town Council Chairperson Candy Buebendorf) should all be ashamed.”
Buebendorf sent an email this morning saying she "did not wish to comment on the McNally issue at all."
And McFee pointed out that McNally was paid for the past six months while “they were figuring out how to get rid of him.”
Wilson said there’s more to it.
“Politics, yes, but there’s more to it. He wanted to see the anaerobic digester put on town property and let the town process (Rand Whitney Containerboard waste water) so we wouldn’t lose that money,” Wilson alleged. “They wanted it at Rand Whitney. And that’s what they got and now, Tom goes.”
Last week, after a 2-hour closed door session, the town council voted unanimously, including McFee, to “endorse the submission of a waste water improvement plan to the bond commission to receive grant funding.”
After the vote, WPCA administrator Brian Lynch said it was a “new beginning with the WPCA and Rand Whitney.”
Patch received a copy of the consulting engineer’s report detailing the plan to pre-treat waste water using an anaerobic digestion treatment process. Rand Whitney would operate the system at their site for a cost of $362,000 annually and the town would see a significant reduction in the user fees the company pays to the town, to the tune of around $1.19 million.
The report states that based on cost analysis the project “may” disproportionately benefit Rand Whitney over the town.
Politics at play?
McNally’s attorney is charging that the firing was politically motivated.
His statement read, in part, that beginning with McNally being placed on leave “in close proximity to the change in political control following the November 2011 election, it is clear from the totality of the circumstances, based on interview with witnesses with actual knowledge, that the purpose of the Mayor’s investigation was to create cause to remove Mr. McNally because of his affiliation with the Republican party as the Chair of the Town Committee."
McNally has filed two Freedom of Information Act requests with the town of Montville. McNally "intends to vindicate his rights and the harm caused to his reputation by filing actions in state and federal forums to address the violation of his First Amendment right to be free of retaliation for engaging in political activity," Parenteau stated.
Despite the firing, McNally said, through his attorney (he did not return a call for comment) that he will not step down from his positions as Chairman of the Republican Town Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Public Safety Commission, Secretary of the Board of Education, member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, a member of the Conservation Commission, and a member of the Historical Steering Committee.