This spring, two residents have led the charge on objections to the layoff of Southborough’s Cemetery Supervisor. Now, according to Southborough Wicked Local, the women have filed an official complaint about the behavior of the Department of Public Works Director and the Town Administrator.
In late April, news leaked that the Cemetery Supervisor of 24 years had been laid off. The purported reason given was the decision by Town Meeting vote to outsource cemetery maintenance.
Hearing the news prompted Zoning Board of Appeals member Lisa Capello to submit a letter to the editor on this blog. She believed that important information had been buried in the Town Warrant.
As the story developed, resident Desiree Aselbekian shared her outrage in comments on the blog. She also announced her plan to compel action by the town to rectify the matter. In her comments, she outlined multiple petitions she was circulating. The first three were aimed at reinstating the position and employee through a Special Town Meeting.
At the last Board of Selectmen Meeting, Aselbekian informed board members that she had the required signatures. She indicated that she would give them until tonight’s meeting to resolve the matter. Otherwise, she would file the Special Town Meeting request. (“Cemetery Reorganization” is on the BOS agenda for continued discussion at 6:30 pm tonight in the Town House Hearing Room.)
Aselbekian had one more petition. The 4th petition was aimed at firing DPW Director Karen Galligan and Town Administrator Mark Purple:
A petition to the Selectmen saying we have had enough: this petition states we have no confidence in the Town Administrator or the Superintendent of Public Works. It is a non-binding petition that we will submit to the Selectmen to let them know we do not have faith or confidence in these two employees and we want them removed and replaced by any means necessary. This town needs leaders we can trust and not leaders who deceive us and mislead us. Not to mention, those leaders who potentially open us up to lawsuits and financial liability. These individuals are not good for this town, and we need to let the Selectmen know we are not going to stand for this anymore.
According to Southborough Wicked Local, Aselbekian claims to now have “roughly 200 signatures” on that petition. She and Capello have filed an official complaint over Galligan’s and Purple’s actions related to the layoff. They are claiming that Galligan and Purple violated Open Meeting Law.
In their complaint, Cappello and Aselbekian do not introduce any new information about what happened. They cite [Selectman John] Rooney’s stated lack of knowledge about the layoff as proof of a violation.
“In light of Selectman Rooney’s recent statement that he was not aware, it is clear that there was an (improper) deliberation between at least two selectman, town administrator and the DPW super, a violation of Open Meeting Law,” they charge. . .
SWL reports that they are “appalled” that the issue hasn’t been placed on the BOS agenda for tonight.
Rooney told SWL that he hasn’t seen “any documents that support” the charges. Meanwhile, Purple is denying the accusations with support from Selectman Dan Kolenda:
Purple on Friday called the complaint “baseless and without merit.” In an email, Selectman Dan Kolenda said it is “filled with misstatements, wild conjecture and supposition.”
Kolenda said he has spoken to both women numerous times to try to advise them of his efforts to address their concerns. . .
“I am surprised and disappointed that they would make such baseless, unfounded allegations,” he wrote. “My only assumption is that they are intent on slandering good, hard-working people in a zealous personal agenda to smear board members and town employees of high character.”
To read the entire SWL story, click here.