Investigator interviews Rockport employees about complaint

By Tom Groening, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 18, 2013, at 6:05 p.m.

ROCKPORT, Maine — The town select board will meet in closed session Tuesday night to discuss a personnel matter related to a complaint made against a town employee. Specifics about the complaint have not been made public, but according to documents made available by the town office this week, the complaint was made by “a town employee or town employees.”

Five members of the board met for more than an hour behind closed doors on Tuesday, Jan. 15, to discuss a personnel matter that chairman Bill Chapman said at the time was “tangential” to the complaint. Earlier this month, the board voted to hire a private investigator to to look into the complaint, which was made in writing and signed.

Given laws protecting the confidentiality of personnel, Chapman said he couldn’t disclose details about the complaint. He also refused to name the investigator or the rate at which he or she would be paid.

However, a Bangor Daily News request for public information citing the Maine Freedom of Access law on Friday yielded emails related to the matter. A statement issued to all town employees by Chapman on Jan. 3 said that Melissa Hewey of the law firm Drummond Woodsum had been hired.

“Ms. Hewey will be meeting individually with the town employees working in the town office during the week of Jan. 7. We urge everyone to cooperate fully,” Chapman wrote.

Another email sent Dec. 29 by Town Manager Robert Peabody to Chapman recommended another attorney.

“I have spent today & likely most of tomorrow reflecting on how best to handle the disciplinary issues regarding [redacted] and will report out the board Monday as requested,” Peabody wrote. The attorney he recommended was one “I use for difficult personnel issues,” he noted.

No information about the cost of the investigation was released Friday. Chapman said previously that the cost would come out of the town’s legal budget.

Other town employees have been quiet on the matter, and Peabody referred questions to the select board.

The town’s ordinance on such issues requires the matter to be dealt with in 15 business days or less. That deadline comes next week.

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this story contained an error. The board voted earlier this month to hire a private investigator to to look into the complaint, not after the executive session on Jan. 15.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/01/18/news/midcoast/investigator-interviews-rockport-employees-about-complaint/ printed on July 31, 2014