The city council in Winooski has voted to keep City Manager Joshua Handverger on the job.
The vote came following presentation of a petition signed by 250 residents calling for Handverger's immediate termination. Critics claim he greatly damaged the city's reputation by ordering an investigation into the conduct of police chief Steve McQueen that cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Several residents spoke out for and against Handverger at Monday night's city council meeting. The council then met in executive session for four hours -- ending at 12:30 a.m.
Just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, Winooski Mayor Michael O'Brien released a statement saying the Council voted to retain Handverger as City Manager.
O'Brien-- who voted to fire Handverger-- says the past several months have been trying for the city but the vote will hopefully close the door on this issue.
"The best way to put it is just the stress and it's taken a lot of time from everybody, it's been a distraction. It's one that needed to be looked at, you know we had a process we had to go through, and here we are today, and hopefully that's-- I say hopefully-- it's behind us and we're looking to move forward in a positive direction," said O'Brien.
O'Brien says there are some weaknesses that Handverger and the Council need to address and those will be discussed at a retreat at the end of August.
The vote was 3-to-2 with Councilors Kathy Picard, Jodi Harrington and Erik Heikel voting to keep Handverger and Councilor Michael Mahoney and Mayor O'Brien voting to terminate his contract.
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