Weathersfield Selectboard Chair Investigates Former Chair's Conduct

In a Special Meeting called on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 current selectboard chair Dave Fuller addressed the Letter of Complaint filed on January 6, 2020 by Ascutney Volunteer Fire Association (AVFA) Chief Darrin Spaulding alleging misconduct by former selectboard chair Kelly Murphy.

Following an executive session held on January 16, 2020 board chair Fuller acknowledged the board had received a letter of complaint directed at former board chair Kelly Murphy and would begin investigating the allegations. 

The complaint alleged that in her duties as chair of the selectboard Murphy directed town employees not to speak with the (AVFA) Chief Darrin Spaulding. Murphy resigned her position as chair at the January 13, 2020 select board meeting and vice chair Dave Fuller assumed the chair position. 

At the Special Meeting held on January 28, 2020. the select board came out of another executive session and chair Fuller announced in open session that the records produced in this executive session would be sealed. He then read the following prepared statement:

"Town of Weathersfield Vt Selectboard Response to Complaint dated Jan 6, 2020 Spaulding/Murphy 1-28-2020

The Town received a Citizens Complaint received on Jan 6, 2020 from Darrin Spaulding, whereas Ascutney Fire Chief alleges inappropriate conduct of the Chair of the Town's Selectboard, Kelly Murphy. This complaint, by the Town's policy, must be addressed to the Vice-Chair David Fuller. 

On Jan. 13, 2020, at a warned Selectboard meeting, Chair Kelly Murphy, resigned as Chair to "assist in the effort to have no perceived barriers to any investigation" with this complaint. 

Jan 14, 2020 - I assumed the role as Chair of the Town Selectboard, and developed a plan, following the Town's Complaint policy dated 7/10/08 and amended 5/3/2011. 

I found the complaint noted 3 separate issues.  

1. That employees at the town office had been "directed by the Selectboard chair not to have any contact " with Darrin Spaulding as Fire Chief of AVFD 

2. The allegation that Board member/Chair Murphy as a result of the above referenced charge "threatened the employment" of any employee that did. 

3. The complaint alleges "bias" toward AVFD and Chief Spaulding as a result of a former membership issue. 

I found that the Town must address items 1 and 2. I dismissed the portion of the complaint item number 3 and found that the Town had no standing. 

I contacted both Kelly Murphy and Darrin Spaulding and asked each person the same question: 

Please identify any person(s) you would like interviewed about this complaint. 

On Jan. 16 and 17, 2020, each person was asked to answer the same question(s) to help in resolving the complaint. Each person complied. 

CONCLUSION: The Board finds that through the answers ---there was a directive from the Chair Murphy ---not to have contact with AVFD Chief Spaulding. 

The Board finds that through the answers---at no time, from any person identified, was any employment " threatened as a result of contact". 

The Board finds that it has no jurisdiction over an allegation within an organization not controlled by the Town and as a result has no opinion. 

CORRECTIVE PLAN: The Board will review its own member conduct policy. 

The Board will be reminded of the procedures whereby a member (who has an issue with anything) is informed where to address those concerns. Ex. Any Board member (by policy) brings their issue to the Chair---who then transfers that issue to the Town Manager for resolution.

I want to thank those that were involved for openly discussing this with me and will schedule the above mentioned corrective actions.
David T. Fuller Chair Weathersfield Vt Selectboard"

Chair Fuller said that the other board members have been directed not to comment on this matter.

In open session, Ms. Murphy said, “The only thing in that complaint that is true is the fact that I work with non-profits and that I should know better. And I do know better – I would never threaten anyone”. She was displeased that the records of the executive sessions were to be sealed. 

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