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CRS board members resign

October 28, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Two Community Rescue Service board members resigned Friday, saying they disapproved of the methods used to oust former CRS Executive Director J. Michael Nye.

Hagerstown City Councilwoman Penny Nigh, an ex-officio CRS board member, and Kenneth R. Smith, treasurer, announced their resignations by letter Friday afternoon.

"I do not and did not like at the time the way things were carried out in the getting rid of J.M. Nye," Nigh wrote in her letter. "I think they were unethical and certainly not fair in bringing in a lot of innuendo and hearsay without giving J.M. Nye a chance to defend himself."

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The CRS board voted 6-2 on Oct. 16 to ask Nye to resign within 24 hours or be terminated with two weeks notice, Nye said. He said he submitted a letter of resignation that asked for an additional 90 days, but the CRS board rejected it.

Friday was Nye's last day in the $60,000-a-year CRS post.

Nigh and former CRS President Ron Horn voted against Nye's departure. Smith was out of town and did not vote, Nigh said.

Nye was voted out of the Oct. 16 meeting while the other board members discussed his termination.

Smith said the board dismissed Nye without giving him a reason, which showed a "total lack of appreciation for his years of service."

"He was not there to face the accusers," Nigh said Friday. "I just can't be a part of this."

CRS President Terry Gearhart could not be reached for comment.

Nye was hired about two years ago to help the financially troubled rescue company turn things around. Nye, Nigh and Smith have said CRS was on the financial upswing in recent months.

County Director of Emergency Services Joe Kroboth said CRS finished fiscal year 2002 with a $115,000 surplus.

With Nye gone, Smith said he isn't comfortable serving as treasurer.

"Given the recent changes to the board and its removal of J. Michael Nye as executive director, I am no longer comfortable with the liability/accountability that comes with the office of treasurer," Smith wrote in his resignation letter. "I have always had full faith and confidence in Mike's abilities and integrity."

CRS board member and Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner said Thursday that he voted to remove Nye because it was time for a change. He also said Nye's outspokenness sometimes got him into trouble.

Nigh said that if the board disliked Nye's personality, they should have discussed it with him rather than force him out.

"If it was because of the way he handled himself when trying to get money for CRS ... then the board should have gone to him and say, 'Look, we don't like the way you're handling things,' " Nigh said.

Smith wrote in his letter that Nye often took heat from the public while acting on orders from the CRS board.

"We taxed him with the burden of telling the CRS story and letting people know that the current system just does not work," Smith wrote.

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