Commissioners point to failings in several areas; 8-year employee says firing came as surprise

GREENFIELD — The Hancock County building inspector has been fired, leaving the office short-handed at the beginning of its busiest time of the year.

Rusty Burgess was let go for not performing the job up to par, Hancock County Commissioners said this week.

Burgess said Wednesday the move caught him completely caught off guard. The commissioners said the termination comes after months of warnings that he hadn’t been performing up to their standards.

“He wasn’t dismissed for one particular issue,” Commissioners President Derek Towle said. “It was a multitude of things; it ultimately came down to he just wasn’t doing the job… It’s unfortunate; I don’t want somebody to lose their job. But we have a job to do: that’s to make sure our employees are doing their job.”

Burgess had served as building inspector eight years, the last six as department head.

One of the major problems of the office, Towle said, was a stack of roughly 300 outdated building permits dating to 2007. Burgess came to the commissioners last summer and asked how to address the paperwork backlog.

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