– Citing the town manager’s poor communication with the police chief, interference in police matters and “micro-managing,” the police and fire unions endorsed removal of Michael Hartman Tuesday night.
The superior officers, patrol officers and firefighters unions all recently voted that they have “no confidence” in Town Manager Michael Hartman.
The association of public works employees showed support for the police and fire departments, but didn’t take a formal vote.
The unions each read letters in support of their votes at Tuesday evening’s selectmen meeting.
The police unions cited poor communication with Police Chief Paul Shastany, interference in police matters, a general lack of support for the municipal side of town government, a deleterious approach to management and a detrimental impact to the future of public safety.
“We respectfully request that you, the honorable members of the Board of Selectmen, devise a sustainable plan to move this town forward and take appropriate steps to remedy this situation,” said Sgt. Brian Holmes, who read a statement on behalf of the superior officers union executive board.
The firefighters union claimed Hartman’s “micro-managing has fostered a work environment which continues to be contentious and demoralizing,” said firefighter Leon Silva, who read the union’s statement.
The union claimed Hartman has reduced the fire department’s budget.
“Through his reduction of the department’s budget, we do not feel that the safety of town employees and the public is a priority to this town manager,” Silva said.
Fred Spintig, the president of the public works association, said the board wouldn’t take a formal vote of no confidence for fear of repercussions because he said they don’t have as many protections.
The firefighters requested that the selectmen remove Hartman from his duties as town manager.
In an email to The Enterprise, Hartman declined to comment on the unions’ votes.
After the statements were read, Selectman David “Spanky” Sousa, who has called for removing Hartman, made a motion to buyout the town manager’s contract.
“I make a motion to pay the town manager off, to send separate ways, and shake his hand, say thank you very much, but send the town manager on his way,” he said.
Selectmen Chairman Joseph Mokrisky said the motion was out of line.
On Wednesday, Selectman Robert O’Regan told The Enterprise he wants to sit down with the union presidents to find out the circumstances behind their votes.
“For the board to make decisions, we need facts,” he said.
No vote was taken by the board at Tuesday night’s meeting.