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Rowe admin. ‘in limbo’ no longer

Official resigns, settlement reached

ROWE — After six months on paid administrative leave, Town Coordinator Ellen Miller will retire from her job on Dec. 31, according to the terms of a settlement agreement reached last week between Miller and the Board of Selectmen.

The agreement ends Miller’s “in-limbo” status, but no information has been made public as to why Miller was essentially suspended from her $29.24-an-hour part-time job in July.

In exchange for waiving her rights to sue the town or individual officials for any perceived violations of Massachusetts General Law or state employment laws, Miller will be eligible to receive all retiree monthly pension, annuity and other retirement benefits “to the same extent as other employees who have voluntarily retired from the town,” says the agreement.

The agreement also means that the town will waive any right to any court claims against Miller.

Miller is also to be paid for her unused, accrued vacation time of 108 hours, and for about 222 hours of unused sick leave, which represents about one-fourth of the 889 hours of unused sick leave Miller had accrued in her nine years working for the town. Payment of the accrued vacation and sick-leave benefits are to be paid within 30 days of the agreement.

Her paid administrative leave is to end on Dec. 31, and Miller has agreed to help the town in transitioning her duties to a temporary or permanent successor, “upon reasonable request of selectmen.” Otherwise, she is not to perform any services on behalf of the town during her remaining time on paid leave.

She has also agreed “to cooperate with the town regarding any town matters related to past events or occurrences during her employment tenure with the town,” according to the agreement. Miller is to return any remaining town-owned equipment, including keys, documents or data-storage devices; however, the agreement notes she has already returned such items.

Miller was put on paid administrative leave on July 26 by Selectmen’s Chairman Marilyn Wilson, who was acting alone. The selectmen met in executive session on July 31, so that Wilson could tell the other board members “of the catalyst for Friday’s (July 26) events, and to get a vote to either rescind the action or to validate it,” according to the selectmen’s meeting agenda.

Several residents present asked why Miller had been removed from her duties, but Wilson repeatedly said she could not discuss it, based on advice from legal counsel.

When asked again about why Miller was put on leave at a recent selectmen’s meeting, Wilson said the selectmen could not discuss it.

Miller is a former town selectman, who stepped down from that board to take the employee position as town coordinator in 2004. She was also employed as a part-time town accountant until July 2012.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbroncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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