RUTLAND TOWN — The Selectboard has scheduled a public meeting for next week to take up the job status of suspended Town Administrator Joe Zingale.
The announcement follows two closed-door sessions the board held this week to discuss a “personnel” matter. Officials refused to provide any additional comment on the purpose of those meetings.
The warning for the special board meeting posted Thursday is the first acknowledgment from the town that Zingale’s job status is an issue. However, Zingale has said he was suspended last week, pending a termination hearing that had been set for Wednesday night.
The board did meet in executive session Wednesday night for about 30 minutes but took no action based on the meeting. Zingale did not attend, citing the advice of his lawyer.
The warning for the Monday meeting states: “To consider and/or determine the employment status of town administrator, Joseph Zingale Jr.”
Josh Terenzini, Selectboard chair, said late Thursday afternoon he could not comment beyond what was in the warning. The warning posted on the town website earlier Thursday stated the meeting would be in “open” session. A version posted outside the town offices does not indicate an executive session scheduled for the board that night.
Zingale, reached at home late Thursday afternoon, said he wasn’t aware of the meeting and was awaiting word from his attorney, Paul Gillies. Gillies did not return a phone call Thursday seeking comment.
Zingale’s job status has been a mystery in town since last week when he was put on paid administrative leave. The reason for the suspension has not been publicly released. Selectboard members have been tight-lipped, offering little more than “no comment” when questioned.
The only information released so far has come from Zingale, who said last week Terenzini came into the town offices to hand-deliver a disciplinary letter to be placed in his personnel file. The two exchanged heated words, and Terenzini told him he would be suspended and to go home, according to Zingale.
The next day, Zingale said, he received a letter from the town stating that he had been placed on paid administrative leave pending a termination hearing.
Zingale has worked for the town for more than 30 years, serving most of that time as town administrator, though the post has had various titles during his tenure.
The meeting Monday is set for 6 p.m. at the town offices.