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Rowe administrator put on paid leave?

ROWE — Amid reports that the town administrator was put on a paid leave of absence on Friday by selectmen’s Chairwoman Marilyn Wilson, a closed-door session has been scheduled for today, as the board’s first order of business at its regular meeting.

The selectmen’s meeting begins in Town Hall at 3 p.m., and the legal reason for calling for a closed-door session will be “To discuss the reputation and character, physical condition or mental health rather than the professional competence of a single individual,” in accordance with state law. However, the person involved can ask for the meeting to be held in open session.

When asked if Ellen Miller was put on leave, Wilson said she could not comment, based on advice from the town’s lawyer.

She did, however, verify that an executive session, on grounds covered by the first exemption of the Open Meeting Law, was planned.

Although discussion of professional job performance of a public employee should occur in an open meeting, a second provision of Open Meeting Law allows closed-door sessions “to consider the discipline or dismissal of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against a public officer, employee, staff member or individual.” Again, the person involved has the right to require the meeting be open. In both cases, he or she also has the right to have a lawyer present.

Phone calls to Miller, and to town lawyer Brian W. Riley of Kopelman & Paige were not returned Monday and Tuesday.

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