Michael Major Resigns After Losing Chittenden County Sheriff Primary | Off Message

Michael Major Resigns After Losing Chittenden County Sheriff Primary


Michael Major - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • Michael Major
Updated on August 23, 2018.

Michael Major, a Chittenden County sheriff's deputy who challenged his boss for the department's top job, has resigned.

Major came in second to Sheriff Kevin McLaughlin in last week's Democratic primary. On Tuesday, Major filed his resignation paperwork.

"The atmosphere was a little dry in the office," Major said. "I'm sure some people are either upset or disappointed, but I just felt it was the right thing to do. I don't think my relationship with the boss would be the same, obviously."

About half of the voters on primary day chose McLaughlin, Chittenden County's longest-serving sheriff. Major got votes from one in four voters. The rest didn't choose a sheriff's candidate.

Major had worked at the department for 34 years but things changed as soon as his campaign got underway in May, he said. In early July, McLaughlin demoted Major from second-in-command to deputy, a demotion the sheriff described as temporary.
As part of his resignation agreement, Major had McLaughlin restore him to his previous rank of captain/chief deputy.

"It was cordial," Major said. "Neither one of us did any arguing or anything. The people spoke. They voted for who they wanted and that's all there is to it."

That doesn't mean it was an easy decision, Major admitted. "It sucks," he said with a big sigh. "I figured I'd be there pretty much until I couldn't do the work physically or died. I love my job."

The Burlington Free Press first reported Major's decision to resign.

On Thursday, McLaughlin told Seven Days he'd planned to reinstate Major to his previous rank once they'd met after the election.

"I had not seen him or talked to him since the election," McLaughlin said. "I had no idea where he was going or what he was going to do."

Major said he'd applied for a couple of local law enforcement positions but otherwise had no immediate employment prospects. He didn't, though, rule out another run for sheriff in four years.

"It is my passion," Major said. "But we don't know what changes our lives will bring sometimes."

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