The Chilmark selectmen will go behind closed doors later this month to discuss the conduct of the town human resource board, following two meetings last month that allegedly involved inappropriate language by board members.
At their meeting Tuesday the selectmen reviewed a written complaint from beach committee member Wayne Iacono about digital recordings of the board meetings last month that were posted on the town website and later removed.
“I am very concerned about the very derogatory, scandalous tape that was on the town’s website,” Mr. Iacono wrote in part in the complaint.
There has been disagreement between the human resource board and the selectmen over whether the town should pay for a $400 training program for longtime beach superintendent Martina Mastromonaco. Acting on the recommendation of the beach committee, the selectmen voted at a meeting Feb. 5 to have the town cover the payment. The human resource board disputed the decision, saying that because Ms. Mastromonaco is a seasonal employee, training benefits are not allowed. The board asked the selectmen to reconsider; they did and reaffirmed their decision to cover the cost of the training at a meting on Feb. 19.
Human resource board meetings to discuss the issue were held on Feb. 7 and Feb. 21.
Draft minutes of those meetings show that the discussion included Ms. Mastromonaco’s duties, management of the beach committee, staffing and policies. The minutes do not reflect the use of strong or inappropriate language.
The five-member human resource board is appointed by the selectmen. The members are Max McCreery, Steve Lewenberg, Frank LoRusso, Jane Greene and Jim Malkin. Chuck Hodgkinson is an employee representative but not a board member.
At their meeting this week selectmen set March 26 as a date for an executive session to discuss the board’s conduct. Mr. Iacono requested that the meeting be held in public but the selectmen declined.
“Rules were being broken,” said selectman Bill Rossi, who attended the meetings in question. “I don’t think anybody has a problem with admitting it but at this point we need to talk about it in executive session.”
The executive session will be held under the section of the state open meeting law that allows a board to go behind closed doors to discuss complaints regarding actions by public officials or employees.
“We need to have open meetings and we need to have our meetings held in a dignified manner,” said selectman Warren Doty. “I think that approach to being in town hall is important and I think we should all be aware of it and behave in that way. Certain language is not appropriate in public meetings and I think that’s a message we should have for all of our town committees.”