Executive Assistant Quits County Post

Marsha Smolev Had Leveled Charges of Hostile Work Environment;
Attorney Studies Case


The executive assistant to the county manager, Marsha Smolev, has
resigned, leaving the position without clear resolution regarding her
previous allegations of a hostile work environment and sexual harassment
by a county commissioner.

In May an administrative investigation commissioned by the county
concluded that any improper treatment did not rise to the level of
illegality, and the commissioners took no disciplinary action in the
matter. But Ms. Smolev's attorney said yesterday they are still
evaluating each incident in its context.

"It is obvious that she had some issues back then, and she
still has some ongoing issues that directly contributed [to the
resignation]," said attorney Jim Rogers of Dailey and Associates
in West Bridgewater.

"Nothing has been filed, but we still anticipate legal action
as an alternative," Mr. Rogers added.

Ms. Smolev told the county manager in a letter dated Sept. 15 that
she will leave this Wednesday after more than three years on the job.
Yesterday she would not comment on her departure or future litigation.

As the county tries to put behind it the months of controversy
surrounding the hiring of a new county manager, Ms. Smolev's
resignation comes as a reminder of the turbulence that marked the
beginning of the year. In January the county was recovering from the
abrupt departure of former county manager Carol Borer and the messy
handling of salary owed for her unused vacation and sick time.

In early February, Ms. Smolev filed a complaint in Dukes County
Superior Court against Ms. Borer. The complaint seeks damages against
Ms. Borer and her husband, Steven, for emotional distress, defamation,
assault and battery and civil rights violations.

Mr. Rogers said work on the case is ongoing.

At the time Ms. Smolev also alleged harassment by county employees,
though she filed no formal complaint. The commissioners placed Ms.
Smolev on paid administrative leave for six weeks pending an informal
review of her claims.

In March, Mr. Rogers wrote a letter to the county detailing her
charges. The letter prompted commissioners to hire human resources
expert Thomas L. Saltonstall to look into allegations of sexual
harassment by commissioner Robert Sawyer; unfair treatment in the
workplace by both Ms. Smolev's supervisor and peers, and negligent
supervision by the county.

Mr. Saltonstall concluded in mid-May there was no unlawful treatment
of Ms. Smolev. He did, however, find instances of improper treatment by
Dukes County officials including "inappropriate and offensive
behavior" by one commissioner.

The county commissioners supported the report's findings but
took no disciplinary action. Chairman John Alley urged everyone to move
forward, and said Ms. Smolev was free to pursue her claims.

Yesterday Mr. Alley said the resignation came as a surprise. He
added that he supported county manager E. Winn Davis in any decisions he
makes regarding the vacancy.

Mr. Davis said he regrets Ms. Smolev's resignation, but will
use the opportunity to reevaluate the position. He said the county will
hire temporary employees to fill the job until they are ready to

"This is a great chance to revise the job description and
requirements," Mr. Davis said. "We'll solicit input
from department heads, and then advertise for a permanent person once
we're satisfied the description reflects the reality of the