On June 2, 2021

Small gaffe leads to harsh consequences

Dear Editor,

I want to address an article from the May 12 edition “Killington Softball League’s return is conditional.” I want to clarify a few things because I feel I’ve been misrepresented. I’ve been the commissioner of the Killington Softball League for the past 15 years. I’ve had a great relationship with the town and past rec directors until last year when the league was suspended for two weeks for violations forcing us to relocate the league to Barstow Field in Chittenden. Players had expressed interest in returning to Killington this season so on April 14 I emailed Parks and Rec Director Sarah Newell, asking about playing in Killington again. She did not get back to me for two weeks. I emailed her on April 28 saying that since I didn’t hear back, I assume everything is good and we can start in May. She emailed me back in 5 minutes saying this was now a Select Board matter, which it has never been. 

I was upset about her lack of response and texted my softball coaches and in doing so, I used an expletive to describe Newell. I’m sorry I let my frustration get the best of me. 

At the board Zoom meeting, they announced that I had shared this message on social media. While I’m not proud of what I said, I want to clarify that this was in a private text message with my five coaches as opposed to a public social media post as the board had indicated. I was shocked when this was brought up and wanted to apologize immediately but I was muted and Selectman Jim Haff was advocating that I wasn’t allowed to speak. I want to thank Steve Finneran and Chuck Claffey for letting me speak for a moment before I was muted again. 

I was told if softball was to continue in town, it would be without me as commissioner. They “fired” me from a league I run. I told them I would help find someone to run it but it’s an uphill climb because the only reason there has been softball the past 15 years is because I’ve volunteered to put in this hard work. 

Newell said she already started looking into the league coming back but I feel that wasn’t the case because she would’ve reached out to me, as commissioner. She didn’t even email me back. In the article, Newell states “I can’t trust him [me] to respect any program staff who would have to enforce the rules. I certainly wouldn’t put a young seasonal staff member in a position to [bear] the brunt of his aggression.” 

I have never been accused of being aggressive and wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. It hurts me to think people would perceive me as aggressive because that’s so far from my character. For the first time in 40 years, there will not be a softball league in Killington. A great tradition is gone but we have a new home in Chittenden and couldn’t be more grateful.

Sincerely,

Dave Hoffenberg, commissioner of the Chittenden Softball League

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