Should we be so lucky ...
By / Monitor staff
Hillsboro's town administrator offered his resignation yesterday, two
days after the selectmen met with him about a private investigation of
his job performance.
The selectmen hired an attorney in March to
investigate Town Administrator John Stetser, in response to a request
made by four female town employees. The investigation was complete last
week, Selectman Russell Galpin said, and the selectmen talked about it
in two separate nonpublic meetings with their attorney and Stetser on
Both Stetser and the selectmen declined to say yesterday whether the resignation was a direct result of the investigation.
don't know what (Stetser) said, but that's my belief that it would have
been very difficult for him after the investigation," Galpin said.
who has been Hillsboro's town administrator since 2008, said he
announced his resignation yesterday morning at a Hillsboro Economic
Development Commission meeting. He left a copy of his resignation letter
for the selectmen at the town offices yesterday afternoon, he said.
selectmen have not yet accepted Stetser's resignation, Galpin said.
They will meet to discuss it Tuesday, and Galpin said he hopes they will
vote to accept it.
Stetser said his resignation would be
effective Aug. 30, but yesterday was his last day of work. He will be
taking vacation days until then, he said.
Michael Donovan, the
town's attorney, and an attorney representing Stetser are negotiating a
separation agreement, Galpin said. He said the selectmen and Stetser
discussed a resignation and separation agreement Tuesday night.
were pretty much on the same page," Galpin said. "He's not asking for a
lot and we're not offering a lot. We're just trying to be reasonable
about the whole thing."
The independent investigation of Stetser,
conducted by Concord attorney Emily Rice, began in March. Four female
town employees requested a review of his "job performance including his
interaction with employees and elected officials" in a letter to the
selectmen. They did not list specific complaints against him.
and employees began raising complaints about Stetser at selectmen's
meetings since January. When Stetser asked about the nature of the
complaints at a February meeting, Venezia told him it involved "sexual
harassment generally, I believe," according to meeting minutes.
told the Monitor in March that no formal allegations of sexual
harassment had been made against Stetser, but the selectmen had verbal,
third-party reports of it. They also received complaints about Stetser's
handling of personnel situations, he said.
Galpin said yesterday
afternoon that he had not yet read Stetser's resignation letter, but
"it's a relief to have it over with." The investigation has been
controversial in Hillsboro, he said.
"So there is going to be strong feelings about it, undoubtedly," Galpin said. "But we'll weather through that sort of thing."