The Town Council reluctantly accepted his resignation and one former Harbor Commission member argued against it on Monday night when Tiverton Harbormaster David E. Vannier handed in his resignation.
"It is with a great amount of regret that we sit here and have to vote on a resignation of a person who has done tremendous work and done work above and beyond," said Brett Pelletier, councilor.
After four years patrolling Tiverton's waters and overhauling the mismanaged Harbor Department, Vannier is confident that he is leaving Tiverton in a better place than where he found it.
Vannier will stay on with the town until March 31 to help vet the next harbormaster and to tie up any unfinished business from his tenure.
Vannier revitalized the town's mooring program - chasing down unpaid bills, discovering unused moorings and earned thousands for the town. He successfully replaced the town's aging Marine 1 vessel with a free boat from the state Department of Environmental Management, he then went on to add more then $4,000 to the town's general fund through the sale of the town's old boat. Vannier streamlined Harbor Department's records online and he secured a substantial grant for a pump-out boat - which the council eventually vetoed.
All of this Vannier completed while working fulltime at his day job at Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, MA, where he is a supervisor for instrumentation and controls. On a stipend of $5,000 per year, Vannier spent in excess of 1,500 hours annually attending meetings, updating policy, and coming up with ideas to revitalize Tiverton's underutilized waterfront.
"I have not been able to spend as much time on my boat, I needed to spend time on my boat with my family," said Vannier in an interview on Monday.
In a letter to the Town Council Vannier said he enjoyed his time and learned a lot as harbormaster. He promised to help find and train his replacement but told the council he was burnt out and needed time to himself and to spend with his family.
"As all of you are aware, this job takes a lot of time and effort to do successfully," said Vannier. "I have given up my weekends every summer and need some time for myself. Finding someone qualified to help out and volunteer time is difficult and almost impossible. I will propose in the budget, as I have every year, a salary for an assistant so our new harbormaster can get some time off and not get burned out as I have," Vannier wrote.
Council members and a former Harbor Commission member all thanked Vannier for his dedication and success at revamping Tiverton's struggling Harbor Department.
"I have been on the Harbor Commission before and worked with Dave Vannier for at least two years while I was there," said Harris Gruber. "I watched all of the things he's done for the benefit of the town, which far exceeds what he is paid for - the number of hours he spends in serving the town and preparing those changes to the code."