July 18, 2019

Medway officials fire probationary police officer> Session held on fact-finding report

MEDWAY — After an executive session to review a fact-finding report involving the police chief, selectmen on Tuesday took no action.

In another executive session held immediately after the first, selectmen met for 35 minutes and voted to fire probationary police officer Peggy Jo Stanley, effective Tuesday night.

Town officials were tight-lipped about the results of the fact-finding report and their vote to remove Stanley from her position.

In a telephone interview Wednesday, Stanley said she was surprised. “I’d like to see people ask some questions of their town officials about where their money went for the fact-finding investigation,” she said.

Selectman Greig Barker made the motion to fire Stanley: “Pending our personnel policies, termination without just cause of Peggy Jo Stanley as of tonight.” Selectman Gary Rudge joined him in voting for Stanley’s removal. Selectman Diane Segee opposed the action. Selectman Dave Rossignol, who did not participate in the executive session involving Stanley, abstained from voting to avoid a potential appearance of conflict of interest. He is distantly related to her. Chairman Steve Cram also abstained from voting.

Stanley was hired as a full-time police officer in January. Her six-month probationary employment period would have ended in July, according to officials.

The selectmen’s meeting began with an executive session called to discuss “personnel.” Police Chief Phil Cram and his attorney, Wakine Tanous of East Millinocket, met with selectmen and town attorney Richard D. Violette Jr. of Brewer. Tuesday’s executive session was the second two-hour session held by officials within a week to review the conclusions of the fact-finding report involving the police chief.

After the session, Violette refused to comment on the grounds of potentially violating employee confidentiality.

Chief Cram declined to comment upon the advice of his attorney.

On Feb. 7, selectmen asked Violette to conduct a fact-finding investigation of various administrative issues and various “as yet unproven allegations” against the police chief.

Stephen Cram, chairman of the board, excused himself before the closed-door session began on Feb. 7, saying he did not want any appearance of conflict of interest because the police chief is his brother. He left the meeting and went home.

At the executive sessions April 12 and 18, Cram observed the proceedings with the unanimous approval of his peers on the board. However, he did not participate in the review process.

Selectman Segee made that motion, which was seconded by Selectman Rossignol. It was approved unanimously by the four selectmen present.

Town officials said they did not know the total cost of the fact-finding investigation, but said the town had spent $2,529 as of March 14.

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