January 15, 2013

Farmington selectmen discuss personnel matter behind closed doors

No names or details provided about subject of Tuesday discussion in executive session, but eight town employees were on hand in show of support

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling mhhetling@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen held a closed-door meeting Tuesday night to discuss a personnel matter with the town attorney, Frank Underkuffler.

Board members would not comment on which employee was the subject of the 90-minute discussion, but eight town employees attended the meeting to express their support for the person whom they believed the session involved.

Board Chairman Stephan Bunker said he was satisfied with the results of the discussion.

"We have the benefit of good legal advice," he said. Bunker said that he couldn't say whether another meeting would be scheduled to discuss the personnel issue.

A closed-door meeting also was called during the most recent regular board meeting.

Bunker scheduled the meeting on Friday after receiving a request from another member of the board earlier in the week, according to Town Manager Richard Davis.

Under state law, municipal meetings are required to be held in public, although several exceptions allow for closed-door meetings, called executive sessions.

This executive session was called by Bunker "to consult with the town attorney concerning the legal rights and duties of the board with respect to a personnel matter." Members approved the session unanimously.

Board member Andrew Hufnagel said he could not comment on what led to the meeting, other than that it was because of a personnel issue.

Before the meeting, Town Manager Richard Davis said it was possible that the board would take a vote after the executive session, but no vote was taken. Under state law, no votes are permitted during executive session.

Those who attended said that they were there to support the employee, even though there was no opportunity for them to speak on that employee's behalf.

If people attended in support of a person coming before the board, Davis said before the meeting, the board probably would understand that their physical presence indicated support.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling -- 861-9287
mhhetling@centralmaine.com

 

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