ROCKPORT, Maine — Selectmen have hired a private investigator to look into a complaint lodged against a town employee.
The board met Wednesday afternoon in closed session to discuss the complaint, board chairman William Chapman confirmed Thursday, and voted in public session to hire the investigator. Given the laws protecting the confidentiality of such personnel matters, there were few details he could disclose, he said.
Chapman did say he received the written complaint, which was signed, on Dec. 28. He would not say whether or not the person lodging the complaint was a town employee or not. On Dec. 31, the board met in closed session to discuss the complaint, but no decision was made on how to proceed.
“We needed to think it over,” Chapman said.
The board reconvened Wednesday, Jan. 2, in closed session, then in public session voted 4-0 (board member Charlton Ames was unable to attend) to hire an investigator.
Chapman said he consulted with the town’s attorney, Bill Plouffe of the Portland firm Drummond Woodsum. Plouffe recommended a private investigator. Chapman would not name the investigator.
“At this point, we would rather not have someone following this person around,” he said.
Chapman also would not disclose the rate at which the investigator will be paid. No budget allocation is being made for the expense, he said. The final bill will come from the town’s legal budget.
According to the town’s ordinance covering such matters, once the investigation has commenced, the board has 15 working days to issue some report. Chapman wasn’t sure just when the 15-day window closed, but expects the board will have a closed-door meeting to discuss the investigator’s conclusions by mid-January.
“We asked that it be done as quickly as possible,” he said of the investigation.