If you’re thoroughly sick of hearing about the Pizzeria Uno investigation — and I know many of you are — I suggest you read no further. But for those of you who have wondered why the town didn’t try a path like mediation before launching the 7-month investigation that cost taxpayers at least $13K in legal bills, the Metrowest Daily News has the answer.
Administrators caught up in the Board of Selectmen’s seven-month investigation of town employees say they tried to meet privately with Police Chief Jane Moran to ease tensions, but they were rebuffed.
The article goes on to quote a letter written by Town Administrator Jean Kitchen and Assistant Town Administrator Vanessa Hale.
“Shortly after the Oct. 22 meeting, the employees, working through Selectman (Bill) Boland, offered either individually or as a group to have a mediation session with Chief Moran to resolve any differences,” says the letter signed by Kitchen and Hale. “We were later told that Chief Moran would not agree to this.”
Moran said yesterday she did not want to discuss the dispute.
At Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf said there have been “efforts on both sides” to move past the dispute since the investigation concluded in May with no disciplinary action being taken against any of the employees. “Some have apologized to the police chief,” she said.
But the town is still wrangling over whether to reimburse four town employees for the $14K in legal bills they incurred during the investigation.
Selectmen have also pledged to release the minutes from the October 22 executive session during which employees were first informed of the investigation. At that meeting, Kitchen and Hale allege then chairman of the board Sal Giorlandino took a “demeaning and accusatory” tone toward employees.
Giorlandino refuted the allegations this week and defended the internal investigation.
Selectman John Rooney, who has been pushing for the release of the October 22 executive session minutes, says releasing them will help the town move past this incident. “We need to get these out there,” he said. “It’s part of closing that final chapter.”
No wonder why an employee would want to be in a union. This would have been handled very differently. Rules regarding conduct would have been negotiated, in advance, as well as the process in dealing with infractions of that conduct.
With Ms. Fitzgerald taking well deserved time off, we lack a prompt on our discussions.
As I was collecting my newspapers for drop off at the transfer station tomorrow, I came across Wednesday’s MWDN. The board of selectmen released the now infamous October 22 meeting minutes. That meeting was the event that caused the town to spend thousands of dollars investigating the town employees.
The article does not go into detail, but I find it unbelieveable that Phaneuf and Boland would not agree to release the full minutes. They only agreed to release minutes that were blacked out and that hide information. The article says Rooney “slammed” the other board members for their secrecy and would not vote in favor of releasing anything other than the full minutes. Sounds like the meeting was a doosey. Was anyone at the meeting?
Here is the article
We finally now know what was said about Chief Moran that launched the investigation. Two things, neither of which seem significant at all to me. “Whatever Jane wants, Jane gets” and “Why does Chief Moran get a car?” From these two statements, an 8 month investigation ensued, thousands of dollars were spent, we lost our Town Planner, and crippled our town government. Could anything be more insane?
The article mentions how the board had no right to go into an emergency session as two members of the board knew about the “negative” statements weeks before the emergency session. What I don’t understand is why Boland said he agrees with Rooney’s statements, but then hides the minutes from the residents? Boland apparently takes the position that this is all we have a right to know at present. Why at present? What else is going to happen? I am very bothered by this. If Boland agrees with Rooney, why does Boland then support blacking out the minutes? And why does Phaneuf want to keep secrets?
We elect people to work for us. If they don’t want to tell us what they are doing, they don’t deserve to represent us. I cannot wait for the next election.