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Former Hancock police chief says council

April 15, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Former Hancock Police Chief Donald Gossage called the Hancock Town Council's handling of his termination classless and said a dog would have received better treatment.

Gossage addressed the Town Council during Wednesday night's council meeting and said he was "kicked out the door" without notice.

"A dog is treated better than that," Gossage said.

His comments received no response from Mayor Daniel A. Murphy or Councilmen David Smith, Randy Pittman, Rusty Wheeler and Tony McCusker.

Gossage didn't give specific reasons for his dismissal. He did, however, say he didn't give in to pressure from politicians while making decisions as police chief.

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The Town Council dismissed Gossage late last month, a little more than three months before his contract expired.

Gossage said he learned that the Town Council held a secret personnel meeting in December to discuss his contract.

In January, he met with Murphy for two hours, who confirmed the secret meeting, Gossage said.

Gossage said Murphy told him he had hoped to work out the matter and that there was a communication problem among all those involved in the situation. Gossage did not elaborate.

He said he asked Murphy at that time to be given 30 days notice should the town decide not to continue his employment. He requested the month's notice so he could look for another job, he said.

He also said he asked that the departure be made on professional terms should they dismiss him.

But on March 23, Gossage was called to a meeting with town officials during which his termination was announced without prior notice.

Gossage told the Town Council on Wednesday that he respected the decision to terminate his employment, but that he didn't respect the "lack of class displayed by every elected official that's sitting in front of me today."

"The town has not heard the last of this incident," Gossage said.

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