Rockport leaders dismiss two internal complaints, end town office saga
ROCKPORT — Investigations of personnel complaints at the town office in Rockport have ended and municipal leaders laid to rest an internal saga that has plagued local government for months.
Following a one-hour meeting behind closed doors March 6 at the Rockport Opera House, the Select Board unanimously agreed that there is no basis for the complaints dated Jan. 15 and Feb. 1, and no reason to take further action on those matters. And, they unanimously voted to pay the legal expenses of certain town employees in connection with the recent personnel investigation in the amount of $3,040.
The board has declined to discuss the nature of those two complaints, but they follow in line a Dec. 28 complaint, the latter which culminated in an employment severance/release agreement signed Feb. 19 by town leaders and former town manager Robert Peabody, of Rockland.
The contents of all three complaints have never been disclosed, and the severance agreement emphatically stipulated that the town manager and the Select Board promise not to communicate anything defamatory or disparaging about the board, employees of the town, and Peabody. The board also encouraged town department heads to refrain from so doing.
Attorney John Richardson, of Brunswick, represents the unnamed individual(s) who submitted the initial complaint on Dec. 28. He also represents those who were the subject of the second and third complaints. On Feb. 8, he said complaints against his clients were based on an absurd claim. He said he welcomed any investigations, and wanted it to be as complete as possible.
As with the first complaint filed Dec. 28, it was fell upon attorney Melissa Hewey, of the Portland-based firm Drummond Woodsum, to investigate the second two complaints. She submitted her report last week, and based on her findings and recommendations, the Select Board agreed March 6 to dismiss the two latter complaints.
The board also convened another closed door meeting March 6 to discuss the applications of 26 citizens who have volunteered to serve on the town manager search committee. The board met with 14 of those citizens in open session before retreating to a closed-door meeting. The citizens each had a two-minute opportunity to say publicly why they wanted to serve on the committee. The remaining 12 citizens who did not attend the meeting had expressed their intentions in letters and emails.
The Select Board is to choose five or seven of them to serve.