Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Vernon town engineer to resign

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
January 8, 2008

VERNON - Town Engineer Tim Timberman, who has come under fire in recent years for thorny road construction projects and letting his license lapse, is resigning his position at the end of February.

Timberman does not give a reason for his resignation in a letter dated Jan. 2, and has chosen not to make a statement at this time.

Town Administrator Christopher Clark did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.

Mayor Jason L. McCoy also did not return phone calls and replied only through an e-mail message, saying he learned of Timberman's resignation late last week.

"I would like to thank Mr. Timberman very much for his years of service to the town of Vernon," McCoy wrote. "We appreciate Mr. Timberman's diligence and dedication to the people of this town. I wish Mr. Timberman well in all of his future endeavors."

McCoy, however, did not answer specific questions on why Timberman chose to resign, for example.

Timberman was suspended without pay in February 2006 when it was revealed that, in violation of the town charter, he had been practicing without a state license for at least five years.

His license was reinstated and Timberman was back to work within the month. But in an interview last August, Clark said he was keeping a tight reign on Timberman to ensure he followed through on all job requirements and tasks.

Sources say, however, that Timberman, who is in his mid-50s and has served as the town's engineer since January 1989, was not asked to resign, nor is he leaving for another position.

Many believe the reason is that Timberman has tired of being the town's scapegoat after having been raked over the coals in recent months by a Republican-led Town Council.

In August Timberman was lambasted by the council in a special town meeting on the troubled Vernon Avenue road reconstruction project. And again more recently he was upbraided when he went before the council to give an update on the roughly 20 ongoing bridge reconstruction projects, the tone of the questioning was adversarial.

Some in Town Hall feel Timberman has become an easy target of late for the wrath of the Town Council and the voters who elect them.

Meanwhile, the land use department has seen major upheaval over the last year, losing Chief Building Official and Zoning Enforcement Officer Gene Bolles, who died in March, and Town Planner Neil Pade, who left in June for a similar job in Canton.

Leonard Tundermann has replaced Pade, while Abraham Ford and Stephen Dupre were hired to oversee building and zoning.

While more than qualified to usher in the large-scale building projects that are on the horizon, such as Home Depot and Target, the town's institutional land-use memory has essentially been lost.

Planning and Zoning Commission member Watson C. Bellows, whose term just ended in December, said the town and board would greatly miss Timberman's experience.

"We're going to be losing a lot of native experience and familiarity with the town and all the different projects we're involved in," Bellows said. Timberman "brings a lot of history to those things."

Bellows said that he could always rely on Timberman's encyclopedic knowledge of the zoning regulations.

Unlike the private sector, town engineers are more like project managers, overseeing all aspects of construction, and that's a unique skill set, Bellows said.

"He's been very helpful to me," Bellows added. "I can always call him and find out tribal lore and get the background whenever I need it."

©Journal Inquirer 2008