Wilton officials clash with town treasurer 

  • Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, August 06, 2018 3:35PM

Wilton Select Board Chairwoman Kellie-Sue Boissonnault accused elected town treasurer Bill Chalmers of “harassing” town personnel during last week’s meeting, a charge Chalmers denies.

During the Select Board’s July 30 meeting, Boissonnault urged the board to put into place a policy so that “our staff is not being harassed by our treasurer,” up to and including specific time frames for him to do his duties in the town office.

“I don’t want us to go down the same path of losing the staff in our office because of an elected official,” said Boissonnault, referencing a recent exodus of three town office staff.

Chalmers walked into the July 30 meeting while the board was discussing him and denied he had a demeanor problem with town staff.

“There is no harassment,” he told Boissonnault. “There is no problem with demeanor.”

Chalmers said there had been an issue the previous week with payroll.

“I got called down here to fix it, I fixed it, and I went home,” he said.

Boissonnault said Chalmers had been acting out of the purview of his duties by refusing to sign certain items until he had gotten additional information.

“When this board signs a manifest for accounts payable and payroll, you are to come in and sign those checks as long as there is money to do so,” Boissonnault said, telling Chalmers that it was outside of his authority to further question or refuse to sign checks that the board had already approved.

“Ma’am, that’s a distortion of the facts. No one refused to sign it,” Chalmers said. He said he had gotten additional information of some items and come in and signed them later in the week.

“That hinders work getting done,” Boissonnault said

“It doesn’t hinder anyone,” Chalmers said.

Chalmers also denied having appointed a deputy treasurer without the board’s required approval, though he did say he had taken “steps” to mitigate the risk of not being able to perform his duties, and said “people have been contacted” though he did not elaborate further. Boissonnault informed him if he had not had a deputy confirmed by the board, then in the event he was unable to carry out his duties, the Select Board would take over the role of the treasurer, and any “steps” he had taken wouldn’t go into effect.

Selectman Kermit Williams said Chalmers is an elected official and should be shown respect by town officials. He also added that Chalmers is well-qualified for the position of treasurer.

“I believe it’s incumbent on this board to show Mr. Chalmers some respect. He is an elected official,” Williams said. “There have been points where he’s, rightly, not felt like he’s been respected.”

Williams said that the town should be able to have a “collegial” relationship with its elected officials.

“Respect has to go both ways for it to be a working relationship and a successful working relationship,” Boissonnault said. 

Chalmers agreed that the town needed to update its policies and procedures for the treasurer and the way it handles financials. He agreed to have a work session with the Select Board to discuss the issues.

The board and Chalmers are meeting at the town offices Tuesday at 3 p.m. to have this work session. 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.