Friday, May 20, 2016

Winchester town administrator resigns, few details available

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff
WINCHESTER — The town administrator has resigned, but officials haven’t provided details of the circumstances. In a May 12 letter, Town Administrator Shelly Walker wrote she would resign from the position, effective Monday, May 16. The letter was read during the public portion of the board’s meeting Wednesday night, The Sentinel has learned.
Walker had been town administrator since July 2013, and had been performing the duties of the position since February of that year following the resignation of Joan C. Morel. Before that, Walker was the town’s executive assistant.
Selectmen Chairwoman Roberta A. Fraser declined to comment in a phone interview Monday about Walker’s employment status, and whether she was on leave. Other selectmen were not immediately reachable this morning to discuss the issue.
Efforts by The Sentinel to reach Walker Thursday were unsuccessful.
Walker’s annual salary for at least her first year as town administrator was $48,000.
According to selectmen meeting minutes, the last meeting when Walker was listed as the minute taker was on April 27. Recording selectmen’s meetings was part of Walker’s job.
The selectmen called one nonpublic session that night that lasted about an hour and a half.
Selectman Jack Marsh referenced two exemptions from the N.H. Right-To-Know law to allow for the meeting to be held in nonpublic session. One of the exemptions, according to the minutes, addressed the dismissal, promotion, or compensation of a public employee, or the disciplining of the employee. The other allows sessions to be held in nonpublic for matters that, if discussed in public, would likely adversely affect a person’s reputation other than a selectman.
After the nonpublic session ended, Selectman Benjamin Kilanski made a motion to seal the nonpublic session minutes, which passed unanimously.
The Sentinel filed a Right-To-Know request with Winchester selectmen Tuesday asking for information pertaining to Walker’s employment status, including the date if she was put on leave, and if the leave was paid or unpaid.
If Walker’s employment had been terminated, The Sentinel asked in the request that selectmen provide the date of her termination and correspondence pertaining to the type of termination, such as a resignation letter.
Margaret A. Sharra, Winchester land use administrator and code enforcement officer, wrote in an email to The Sentinel Thursday morning selectmen had reviewed the request at their regular meeting Wednesday night.
“The board requested I pass on their response by saying they do not comment on personnel issues,” she wrote.
She later provided Walker’s resignation letter on behalf of the selectmen.
In her resignation letter, Walker wrote the past six years working for the town had been very rewarding, and she enjoyed being a “part of a very successful team dedicated to providing top level customer service.”
She then thanked selectmen for the opportunity.
Walker is the fourth town administrator in the past eight years to part ways with Winchester.
In March 2008, Winchester voters decided to abolish the long-time town manager position and charge the selectmen with restructuring the town hall staff.
A month later, then-Town Manager John H. Stetser left. Soon after, selectmen named Amy O. Lewis town administrator. Lewis resigned from the post a few months later after her husband took a job out of state.
Robert N. “Bob” Gray, who was Winchester’s property records manager, became the next town administrator. He resigned two years later to move to Arizona to help his siblings care for their elderly parents.
Morel was then appointed to the position, followed by Walker.

Meghan Foley can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1436, or
Follow her on Twitter @MFoleyKS.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My only comment is that I hope that she is not taking the fall for someone else's wrong doings. She was worked hard and asked to go above and beyond. I hope that she was not covering up for someone else at Town Hall and is now paying the price. If so I hope it is brought to the surface and she is cleared. Too many ataff there have gotten away with too much over the years.