On July 1, Town Manager Dawn [Waisanen] Noyes, Fire Chief Mark Blaquiere, and Police Chief Mike Dailey simultaneously took over leadership potions in Paris. Sun Journal/Jon Bolduc Buy this Photo

PARIS — At a Paris Board of Selectmen’s Meeting Monday night, a group of firefighters from the Paris Fire Department handed Selectboard Chair Rusty Brackett a sealed envelope with a complaint the members of the department said were “kicked down the road” by the town.

According to the firefighters in attendance Monday, the complaint was brought to Paris Town Manager’s Dawn [Waisanen] Noyes attention in September, and since then, no action has been taken on the complaint.

In a phone call Tuesday, Paris Fire Department Chief Mark Blaquiere said that he didn’t know what was in the envelope, or the nature of the complaint, but according to former Selectmen Scott Buffington, it was a letter of no confidence against a town employee he declined to identify.

According to Buffington, the letter had signatures from 70% of the firefighters on the force.

According to Buffington, the policy and procedure for handling complaints is clear; supervisors are notified first, then the town manager, and, finally, the Selectboard. And Buffington admits that the Paris Fire Department skipped a step.

“These guys fight fires. They don’t necessarily understand the internal politics of the town … it can be confusing for them,” said Buffington.

At the Selectboard meeting Monday, Paris Bookkeeper and Human Resource Manager Paula Andrews said the handing the complaint over to the board on Monday violated the town’s personnel policies and advised the board not to take the envelope.

“It’s if personnel-related, you have to take it to your supervisor first, and if they haven’t addressed it, you take it to the town manager. If you haven’t brought it to her, you can’t bring it to the board.”

But, according to Buffington, that procedure was recently changed without the authorization of the Board of Selectmen.

According to an updated complaint policy posted on a builtin board at the town office on February 6, signed by Andrews, employees, as an extra step, are now required to submit complaints to the Human Resource Department. According to Buffington, that change was unauthorized.

“The whole things a mess … that hasn’t been approved by the Selectboard. Any policy and procedure change has to be approved by the board,” said Buffington.

But on Monday night, it wasn’t clear whether or not the board could accept the complaint.

“Are we able to accept the envelope?” Rusty Brackett asked.

“No.” Andrews replied. “We (the town) haven’t seen it.”

According to Buffington, the step of bringing the complaint back into the radar of the town is an important step to taking action.

The complaint is a personnel matter, and not a public record, according to Buffington, and will likely be discussed in private executive session. If a finding of wrongdoing is found, it will then be released to the public.


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