Easton’s tree warden has been relieved of his duties, and an acting tree warden has been named following an incident at the Easton Public Works Department.
Town tree warden Richard McLaughlin, 54, of Norton Road went to the public works department at 15 Westport Road on Feb. 21 at 9:03 a.m. to protest the removal of a tree on Glover’s Lane that had been targeted to be cut down, police said.
The tree, which had a large crack in it, had previously been cabled, and a chain was put on it prior to Superstorm Sandy to protect the public from danger, according to Bruce Bombero in public works.
As Mr. McLaughlin was discussing the condition of the tree at the department, he became agitated and cursed at staff members Jean Schwartz and Mr. Bombero, according to reports.
“He was very passionate about the tree,” Mr. Bombero said, and he did not want it to be cut down. “He got very excited, and spit came out of his mouth, although he didn’t spit at me.”
Mr. Bombero and Ms. Schwartz called the Easton Police Department to intervene, and officers responded and charged Mr. McLaughlin with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.
When officers confronted Mr. McLaughlin, they said, he apologized for upsetting Ms. Schwartz and Mr. Bombero. He was released on a promise to appear in court March 1.
Edward Nagy, public works director, said he could not comment on the incident because he was not present and had not read the police log.
First Selectman Tom Herrmann was out of town at the time, attending a federal conference for Connecticut’s elected officials on gun violence prevention at Western Connecticut State University.
When he returned and learned of the incident, Mr. Herrmann relieved Mr. McLaughlin of his duties and named Phil Doremus acting tree warden.
“The tree warden is an appointed official and is paid a $1,500 a year honorarium,” Mr. Herrmann said.
Mr. McLaughlin could not be reached for comment.