By Patricia Minichiello
Catherine Nelson, publisher and CEO of the Rutland Herald and Times Argus, has left the company to retire, according to an email sent to employees around 1:45 p.m. Monday.
“As part of the transition, Catherine has decided to leave the company and is retiring,” Rob Mitchell, editor of the Rutland Herald wrote. “It looks like we will close the sale late this week, although that may still change.”
It’s been a rocky year at the news organization with employee firings, turnover, the paper’s print edition being cut to four days a week, paychecks bouncing for many employees and the pending sale of the paper.
Sources within the organization said that Nelson left the office Monday before the email was sent, with many wondering if she would return to work at all.
Nelson did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
“My father (R. John Mitchell) and I will be backstopping her role this week or until the sale is final, so if you have questions please come to me or to Dad,” Rob Mitchell wrote in the email.
Also, on Monday Anthony Edwards, a photographer who has worked for the Rutland Herald for the past four years, was fired. He refused to work the weekend because he did not receive a check for milage expenses.
Edwards said the firing did not come as a surprise because others have been fired – including former News Editor Alan Keays and advertising salesperson Valerie Broughton – or resigned, including three reporters recently.
“I didn’t get an expense check so I’m not working the weekend,” he texted Mitchell Friday, but didn’t get a response.
On Monday, Edwards said, “(Mitchell) said that was unacceptable and fired me.”
“I didn’t even get to say, you know you don’t pay me that much, but that’s how it is. I live paycheck to paycheck.”
Edwards said the first year and a half he worked for the Herald, he lived in his car, often traveling to take photos in Montpelier for the Times Argus, “out of the goodness of my heart.” He said he did it because he loved the craft.
Nowadays he said he is lucky to break even after he pays rent, bills and gas.
For the time being Edwards said he still has a teaching job at Stafford Technical Center this fall.
“I’m definitely teaching. I have enough enrollment for one of my classes and I’m hoping to have enough for two,” he said.
Aside from Nelson’s departure and the sale of the paper, the company-wide communication also addressed what the loss means to employees.
“I know you all want and need to know what this will mean for all of us, but we will start that process on what’s next starting next week with the new owners.”
*Editor’s Note: The author is the former online managing editor at the Rutland Herald.
Patricia Minichiello is a freelance reporter and editor of vtpresspass.com. You can reach her at email@example.com.