Rockport town employee under investigation following complaint

By Stephanie Grinnell | Jan 03, 2013

Rockport — Rockport Select Board Chairman William Chapman said two executive sessions this week resulted in the hiring of an investigator to look into a personnel complaint.

Chapman said he personally received the complaint in writing Dec. 28. He said "the nature of the complaint" led it to be submitted to him rather than any other member of town staff.

"As chairman, I called a meeting Monday the 31st," Chapman said.

During that meeting — cited as a "Personnel matter pursuant to Title 1 M.R.S.A. Section 405(6)(A)" — four members of the select board met with and "spoke to a number of town staff" to determine if an investigation should move forward based on the written complaint.

Maine statutes under Title 1 allow for an executive session for "A. Discussion or consideration of the employment, appointment, assignment, duties, promotion, demotion, compensation, evaluation, disciplining, resignation or dismissal of an individual or group of public officials, appointees or employees of the body or agency or the investigation or hearing of charges or complaints against a person or persons subject to the following conditions:

(1) An executive session may be held only if public discussion could be reasonably expected to cause damage to the individual's reputation or the individual's right to privacy would be violated;
(2) Any person charged or investigated must be permitted to be present at an executive session if that person so desires;
(3) Any person charged or investigated may request in writing that the investigation or hearing of charges or complaints against that person be conducted in open session. A request, if made to the agency, must be honored; and
(4) Any person bringing charges, complaints or allegations of misconduct against the individual under discussion must be permitted to be present.
This paragraph does not apply to discussion of a budget or budget proposal; [2009, c. 240, §2 (AMD).]"

Select Board members Chapman, Kenneth McKinley, Geoffrey Parker and Tracy Lee Murphy were unable to come to a decision Dec. 31, and met again the afternoon of Jan. 2, Chapman said.

"[Select board members] needed more time to think about it," he said.

Jan. 2, the motion "to hire an investigator to investigate a personnel matter in a complaint received Dec. 28" was approved, according to Chapman. He said Select Board member Charlton Ames is out of town and unable to attend the meeting.

Chapman declined to identify the investigator but said the investigator was recommended by town attorney William Plouffe of Drummond Woodsum.

He said investigation of town employees in not common but "when it comes up we take it seriously." Chapman said by law, the select board had 10 days to address the written complaint. Once the decision was made to conduct and investigation, it must be complete within 15 days, he said, adding the investigator will report to the select board in another executive session.

Comments (1)
Posted by: N H | Jan 04, 2013 09:13

Wish Steve Betts were investigating this story, we could all get another citizen of Knox County hung up til dead.

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