Town clerk, deputy clerk both to leave by next week

  • The crowd at Tuesday’s Select Board meeting. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/25/2016 6:27:11 PM

Almost two months after they first submitted letters of resignation, the town clerk and deputy clerk will be stepping down from their posts.

Former Town Clerk Wendy Drouin had her last day of work on Tuesday, and Deputy Clerk Jeanne Whitcomb will be done by next week. The two woman, along with Treasurer Shannon Kelley resigned their positions at the end of March – and later were joined by Administrative Assistant Betsey Perry. All four cited conflict with Select Board member Gail Cromwell as the chief reason behind their decisions.

The board asked all four women to remain in their positions and hired a Derry mediator.

“I have to tell you that mediation failed,” Select Board Chair George Willard told a crowd of about 20 residents who attended the Select Board’s meeting Tuesday. 

Willard said the board, Drouin, Whitcomb, Kelley and Perry had met with the mediator for four hours, but could not come to a successful resolution.

Filling the position

The town put out a request for applications for the position of town clerk to fill the position until the next election, and have received two responses, one from Peter Allen and the other from Joyce Kullgren.

While still accepting applications, the board agreed to set up interviews with the existing candidates as soon as today with the intent of filling the position as soon as possible.

Cromwell calls for treasurer resignationacceptance

Perry, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, said afterward that the board still has not accepted her resignation, and she will continue in her position for now. However, she said, she still wants to see an improvement in the interaction between the board and the employees of the town office. She was disheartened, she said, by a discussion that had arisen during Tuesday’s meeting regarding Treasurer Shannon Kelley.

Cromwell brought up the issue of “stale” checks – checks that had been issued by the town but never cashed by the recipient, for whatever reason. The town has checks of this nature dating back to 2007, said Cromwell. 

Cromwell called to task Kelley on this issue, saying that a 2014 town audit had identified the stale checks as an issue, and recommended setting up an account to store funds to pay out any outstanding checks.

While this was done, and Kelley also gathered information and compiled a policy for dealing with such checks. However, said Cromwell, she had not done enough at the time to contact people with outstanding checks to tell them about the outstanding payments.

“To me it is shocking. How can we justify not paying these people?” said Cromwell.

Willard alleged that Cromwell was attempting to “micromanage” the treasurer. Cromwell, disagreed, saying she saw this as a failure to do “due diligence” and was a “dereliction of duty.”

Cromwell asked if Kelley’s letter of resignation, submitted in March, was still on file. When Willard answered that it was, Cromwell moved that the board accept that resignation. However, neither Willard nor Select Board member Ken Caisse seconded the motion, causing it to die on the floor. 

When Cromwell asked how long the board would wait before addressing Kelley’s still-outstanding letter of resignation, Willard replied, “I hope she stays.”

Whitcomb objected during the public comment section to the nature of the discussion surrounding Kelley, saying that he board should have approached Kelley to discuss any issues first.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 224 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.




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