STANDISH — A town councilor resigned Wednesday morning after leaving early from an executive session the night before.

Standish Town Councilor Isabel Higgins said Tuesday night that she was “tired of having my integrity questioned” as she drove away from the Standish Municipal Building. She declined in an interview Wednesday to elaborate.

“Executive session protects the information,” Higgins said. “I would expound if I could.”

She emailed her letter of resignation to town officials Wednesday morning.

“I am tendering my resignation from the Town Council, effective immediately,” Higgins wrote in her Aug. 8 letter. “While it has been an honor to serve the people of Standish, I feel the need to remove myself from the increasingly stressful situations and confrontational meetings which have become a regular part of the job.”

Kris Tucker

Higgins’ resignation comes after the council terminated the contract of former Town Manager Kris Tucker on July 23, and Tucker later made allegations against an unnamed town employee.

“I’m done,” Higgins said in an interview Wednesday morning. She was one of six councilors who voted in favor of firing Tucker, and also supported hiring him last fall.

Higgins said in her letter that the stress and confrontation present during council meetings “highlights, in my opinion, the serious need for a professional Human Resources Officer to help mediate when tense situations escalate, as well as to provide training for staff and Council, and help manage the day to day functioning of the staff at Town Hall.”

She would like to see a human resources position incorporated into future town budget discussion.

Council Chairman Steven Nesbitt called the resignation “very upsetting” and said Higgins “cares deeply for this town.”

“While I understand her reasoning, I was saddened to receive her resignation,” Nesbitt said. “Councilor Higgins always had one goal as councilor and that was to help the residents of Standish and make Standish a better place to live.

Nesbitt and the council responded last week to allegations made by Tucker, who claimed in a July 31 interview that he is a victim of assault and false allegations of harassment by an employee.

Nesbitt initially declined to comment on whether he was aware of any allegations made against or by Tucker, but then sent a press release from the council last Friday, Aug. 3 in response to a Lakes Region Weekly article published earlier that day.

“In the article, Mr. Tucker has made several allegations about Standish’s Town staff. The Council feels those allegations have no credibility,” said the council press release. “The Council is proud of its Town employees.”

The council voted 6-1 on July 23 to terminate Tucker’s contract without cause, meaning he is entitled to severance and health care payments.

Councilor Peter Starostecki, the lone vote against firing Tucker, previously called the termination a “total snow job.”

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Editor’s note: Kris Tucker’s attorney, Gregg Frame, has represented the reporter’s parents in an unrelated property rights case.

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