Unrest in Cupids
Employees, mayor resigns; council rejects pay increase
Turmoil erupted in The Town of Cupids last week following the resignation of its longtime town clerk, a threat by the maintenance employee to also quit, and the unexpected departure of Ron Laracy, the town’s mayor since 2009.
There’s also tension among members of council over a decision to reject a proposed pay increase for town employees, and growing concern over the escalating costs of maintaining the town’s inventory of aging vehicles.
The first public hint of unrest came on Wednesday, Jan. 30 when The Compass learned that Laracy had tendered his resignation earlier in the week.
When contacted, Laracy cited work commitments as the reason for his unexpected departure.
“I have too much on my plate where I’m working and everything,” Laracy said.
Laracy denied that his departure had anything to do with a recent disagreement among council members over a proposed pay increase for the two municipal employees.
“It was no issue in particular,” he said. “I just didn’t have time for it.”
‘Working for nothing’
Council voted down a proposed five-per cent pay increase for staff during a recent privileged meeting, with only Deputy Mayor Ross Dawe and Coun. Harold Akerman supporting the motion. Both are members of the finance committee.
Laracy and councillors Kevin Connolly, Doug Furey, Christine Burry and Harvey Puddister voted against the increase.
In response, town clerk Ivy King submitted a letter of resignation on Jan. 29. The Compass has learned the town’s maintenance employee, Ray Sparkes, also served notice that he would tender his resignation on Feb. 1 unless the pay increase was approved.
King is working her two-week notice period, which expires Feb. 12.
Discarded on the street below are the remnants of the bedroom. The granddaughter’s mattress and box spring dumped onto the narrow sidewalk.
The cause of the f ire is sti l l unknown.
When fire crews arrived, Paul and Marinna were standing, watching the blaze.
Fire Chief Ray Verge said firefighters did a “great job” in limiting some of the damage to the home.
The top level of the home was completely gutted by fire, while the bottom level sustained heavy smoke and water damage, according to Paul, who visited the home late last week.
“(Firefighters) advanced through the house and completed a very aggressive attack on the fire,” said Verge. “(Firefighters) were able to keep the fire to that bedroom. Although the home sustained some smoke and heat damage, the fire damage was pretty much to that one area.”
Verge said the couple “got out just in time,” adding that, “With these old houses, fire takes no time to spread.”
While the couple did not sustain any physical harm, Paul was admitted to Carbonear General Hospital for minor smoke inhalation and was released on Jan. 31.
The couple had been in the home for 40 years.
When the couple returned to the home late last week, Paul admitted it was a difficult sight to behold.
“Go back and look at something you’ve had for a long, long time and all of sudden there it is, gone,” he said.
The couple has homeowner’s insurance.
As of Feb. 1, the couple was staying at the Harbour Grace Motel.
“We both got out, that’s the main thing,” he said.
This is the aftermath of a residential fire on Water Street in Harbour Grace last week that caused extensive damage to a 40-year-old home. There were no serious injuries, and the town’s fire brigade was able to save the dwelling from total loss.