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Sherborn Selectmen Call Into Question The Mandate Of The Personnel Board

During Thursday's BOS meeting, Personnel Board members stated that the implementation of by-laws is not their job.

During Thursday’s Sherborn Board of Selectmen meeting Chairman Tom Twining began with a discussion with the Personnel Board on what their role is in town.

Twining stated he was upset about record keeping and the audit of the Sherborn Fire Department by the U.S. Department of Labor, which he said happened under the Personnel Board's watch.

Twining said he reviewed the board’s minutes for the past year and they are not organized or recorded well enough for the minutes to be presented in a professional manner.

Judi Miller, a Personnel Board member, stated emphatically that she did not like that Twining chose to discuss the issue since it was not specifically written on the agenda.

She said, “I emailed you for clarification and you never responded.” Miller said the dispute over whether or not the firefighters are being paid minimum wage is not under the jurisdiction of the Personnel Board. She noted that the fire chief reports to the Town Administrator, “not to the Personnel Board.”

Miller stated, “I am angry. You are impugning my character.” She said their job as volunteers is to oversee the town’s Personnel Administration Plan. She said implementing it, “is not our job, nor our responsibility.” 

Within the past month, the Selectmen have debated whether or not to reappoint Personnel Board Chair Grace Shepard and Twining stated he wanted it to be clear that the hesitancy in that decision was about bringing new perspective to the town and not because of a personal issue.

Twining said he believes that the Personnel Board is responsible for looking after the town’s salaries and aiding in ensuring they have fair wages. 

DeRensis also stated that when he was chair of the Selectmen, one of two sexual harassment lawsuits at the time was not brought to his attention. He said he found out after the complainant called him after several months had passed and no resolve had been made. 

Ron Arigo, Personnel Board member, said he conducted interviews about the lawsuit and at the time then-Town Administrator Dan Keyes was made aware of the situation.

DeRensis said because he was not informed, he was not able to inform the town’s insurance company when he was supposed to. 

Shepard said, the former Town Administrator informed her he had called the town’s insurance company. She also conceded that the Personnel Board’s minutes are not taken in a professional manner.

Twining asked, “Do you under the consequences of that?”

“Now I do,” Shepard replied.

Arigo encouraged Twining to read the Personnel Board’s mandate and by-laws and then “come back to the table and correct your opening comments.”

DeRensis then said, he believes during an investigation with the federal government, in his experience, it is best to present them with “fresh faces” to represent the town.

Sherpard asked if that meant he would like her to step down from the Personnel Board?

DeRensis did not reply and Twining asked that they move on in the agenda. 

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