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Letter: Our findings

Having examined Tedd White’s written statement of Jan. 22 in which he accused Virginia Gabert, the Town of Hawley’s administrative assistant, of unprofessional conduct and having reviewed Virginia’s detailed written response to Tedd’s complaint, as well as her oral response during the selectboard’s executive session, we find no basis for these accusations. On the contrary, we believe Virginia has been a hard-working, devoted, and effective administrative assistant not only to the select board but to the board of assessors and the treasurer and tax collector as well — a view that we know the great majority of Hawley’s citizens share. Her service during the difficult negotiations with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and ET&L that led to the Chickley River settlement was extraordinary and saved the town from financial disaster.

It is a violation of an employee’s rights for an employer to make public complaints about an employee’s performance. Performance reviews must be conducted in executive session. We regret that Tedd White chose to make public accusations against Virginia while he served as selectman and we apologize to her for any pain or embarrassment it caused.

While there are areas in which the conduct of Hawley’s town business could be improved, such as establishing better communication among employees and elected and appointed town officials, these are matters that should be addressed in a non-confrontational and constructive manner. We are committed to making Hawley’s town government run smoothly and look forward to working with the citizens of the town to achieve that goal.

PHILIP KEENAN, chair, Selectboard

JOHN SEARS, selectman

Hawley

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