Rockport town manager on paid leave
Rockport — Rockport Select Board Chairman William Chapman confirmed Tuesday, Jan. 29 that Town Manager Robert Peabody Jr. is on a leave of absence.
"He is the town manager and the charter requires all leave to be paid," Chapman said.
He declined to discuss details but noted there are several types of leaves of absence when questioned if the absence was requested by Peabody or the select board.
"It depends on the type of leave and I can't characterize this leave," Chapman said.
A phone call to the town office seeking comment from Peabody was answered by town staff, who offered to take a message but did not know when Peabody might return. Chapman declined to comment on the expected length of Peabody's leave as well. A message left at Peabody's home phone number was not immediately returned.
The evening before, the select board again met in executive session to discuss a complaint against a town employee, though Chapman declined to say if Peabody's leave of absence was related. During the executive session, several members of the town staff were in the building "but not party to the executive session," Chapman said.
Select board members talked with Town Attorney William Plouffe during a conference call, Chapman said.
"[There were] no decisions I could discuss [made during or after the meeting]," he said.
Chapman said the select board is "meeting our obligatory requirements" relating to the time frame of the investigation of the complaint, which he personally received Dec. 28, 2012. Chapman previously said "the nature of the complaint" led it to be submitted to him rather than any other member of town staff.
An executive session Jan. 2 resulted in a select board vote to hire an investigator. Since then, select board members have met in executive session numerous times, including Jan. 22, during which the select board received a verbal report from Drummond Woodsum attorney Melissa Hewey, the investigator tasked with investigating the complaint against a town employee. Chapman said a written report has been submitted but due to the nature of the report — personnel — it will not be made public.
Chapman said he does not have an estimate of the costs of the investigation.
Tuesday, Jan. 29, Chapman confirmed there also is a second complaint against a town staff member.
"Yes, there is a second complaint but I can't characterize it," he said, adding the separate complaint was not investigated in conjunction with the more publicized one.
Chapman declined to say if both complaints were received during the same period of time or if the two complaints concern the same town staff member.
He said there currently are no additional executive sessions planned but noted several previously-planned and as-of-yet unadvertised workshops could see last minute changes to the agenda.
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