Personnel policy debated in Rutland Town
By Courtney Parker
Correspondent | April 25,2013
Personnel policy disagreements had some Rutland Town officials riled up Tuesday night.
New Selectman Don Chioffi said including elected officials in a policy governing the conduct of employees was potentially problematic.
“I answer both individually and collectively to every single taxpayer and citizen of the town of Rutland that elected me,” he said.
Chioffi said he had no problem abiding by the policy, but he said it was purposeless and that he holds himself to a higher standard.
“It’s an ethical thing with me; it isn’t something written down,” he said.
Selectman John Paul Faignant defended the policy, saying the board bore no extra burden from being covered by it.
“This is just another policy,” said Faignant, comparing it to the liability and workers’ compensation policies. “You’re covered under that the same as you’d be covered under anything else.”
Faignant said the personnel policy was meant to govern conduct and he asked Chioffi why elected officials should not be held to the same standards as town employees.
“You need the personnel policies to describe the behavior that a majority of the board might feel violate the state’s statutes; this is the foundation to take in disciplinary action,” he said.
Chioffi said he does not see any enforcement authority against elected officials, and asked where elected officials’ duties would fall under the policy.
Faignant replied, “What you are trying to do is take a policy and understand it in the realm of a specific instance. In 34 years I’ve never seen two personnel issues come up with the same issues.”
Chioffi was quick to rebut: “Well, in 68 years I’ve never ever seen an elected official be considered to be held accountable by a personnel policy.”
He said there is a distinct difference between employees and elected officials. He said the policy improperly mingles the two.
“I don’t believe I’m governed by that,” Chioffi said. “My belief is that as a public elected official I am held to a much higher standard than what is purported in any of this policy.”
But Chioffi agreed to sign and acknowledge that he has received and read the document.
In other news, Recreation Director Mike Rowe announced the rebuilding of the playground at Richard DelBianco Park at Dewey Field is set for 8 a.m. May 11.
Rowe asked community members to volunteer, and said food and drinks will be provided.
“Come on over and tighten up a few bolts,” he said.