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UPDATED: Embattled Dracut Town Manager Jim Duggan Resigns

Oct 09, 2019 03:50PM ● By Lisa Redmond

Dracut Town Manager Jim Duggan

DRACUT - After more than five years in Dracut, Town Manager James Duggan has resigned in the wake of questions over potential bidding improprieties, a fire department in upheaval and past issues with the police department.

The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday afternoon posted a special meeting for scheduled for 2:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 to discuss and vote on a severance agreement for the former' town manager, discuss hiring a temporary town manager and discuss how the temporary town manager's contract will be negotiated.

Selectman Tony Archinski said his understanding is that Duggan resigned and that Selectman Chairman Jesse Forcier will be issuing a press release.

Duggan, who was absent from Tuesday's selectmen's meeting due to "personal'' issues, was hired for the top job in May 2015 after spending a decade in Gloucester. 

In a statement released Wednesday, Duggan expressed pride in his accomplishments as town manager and thanked town officials and employees.

 "I want to thank all elected and appointed officials, municipal workers and staff ... and residents who have given me such a great opportunity and support in performing this important executive role," Duggan wrote. "I strongly believe that Dracut has made considerable progress through the hard work and dedication of all those affiliated with the town, including the many community partners and businesses who’ve shared our can-do vision and helped make positive things happen."

Duggan has recently came under fire from selectmen for possible violations of the state's procurement laws that are now under review by the state Attorney General's Office. Members of the Dracut firefighter's union jammed a recent selectmen's meeting to voice their anger at Duggan's handling of a disciplinary issue.

 In August, Selectman Chairman Jesse Forcier accused Duggan of using "scare tactics'' in implementing the town's stormwater program. 

In July, the long-simmering feud between Duggan and Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand wound up in federal court.

Below is Duggan's full public statement on his resignation:

"In a mutually agreed upon decision with the Board of Selectmen, I am stepping down as Dracut Town Manager after six full-fulling years on the job. I want to thank all elected and appointed officials, municipal workers and staff – both on the town side and School Department - and residents who have given me such a great opportunity and support in performing this important executive role. 

"I strongly believe that Dracut has made considerable progress through the hard work and dedication of all those affiliated with the town, including the many community partners and businesses who’ve shared our can-do vision and helped make positive things happen.

"Dracut’s financial stability has never been better. Its infrastructure has been dramatically improved. Its public services have expanded and excelled. Economic development is no longer a figment of the imagination but a very significant and real initiative that has reaped positive results. As for our school system, it continues to improve and achieve great success aided by stronger collaboration and cooperation with Town Hall and other entities.

"As you know, Dracut became home to my wife and me. We’ve met countless new friends and shared wonderful memories that will be cherished for a long time to come. Thank you for those best of times.

"As town manager, I always put the best interest of the town first and foremost, and I am exceptionally proud of the numerous accomplishments we achieved together through. 

"Lastly, as I move forward to new endeavors, I wish Dracut and its residents all the best in the future."

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