AYER -- A second dispute between the town's treasurer and assistant treasurer has again left the latter under the supervision of Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand.
The Board of Selectmen voted to transfer Assistant Treasurer Melissa Doig after her second complaint against Gintner.
In a letter to the board from October 2013, Doig argued that Gintner issued a letter of reprimand that was not factually correct and unwarranted. Doig also claimed that the performance evaluation goals and objectives filled out by Gintner were "retaliatory in nature." The letter in question is not open to the public because it is a personnel matter.
"Furthermore, this evaluation goals and objectives process was not a collaborative process between the treasurer and me, but a unilateral list of demands issued to me from the treasurer," Doig argues in her message to selectmen.
Gintner claims that the list was not one of demands, but goals.
Doig also said she learned that Gintner wanted to give her low scores on her evaluation, and said that Gintner "does not want to work collaboratively."
But Gintner said that the alleged comment about low performance score numbers never happened.
"I never said I was going to give her all '2's," she said. "She does better work than '2's."
Gintner said she thinks Doig got that idea from someone else, but that the assertion is not true.
As for the goals and objectives, Gintner said that when she worked under department heads in the past, she did not have any say in her goals.
"I've talked with a lot of different department heads and managers and none of them have ever worked collaboratively in setting the goals," Gintner said.
Doig referred all comments to Pontbriand.
A management plan that Pontbriand drafted states that the two must have "minimal contact only of a professional nature."
Gintner said the personnel policy procedures were not completed in the board's decision. The plan makes it more difficult to work, she said.
"Since we have no contact, we have to pass things through inter-office mail and sometimes that hinders getting the work done," she said.
Gintner maintains that Doig should have not been transferred.
"The other departments have their assistants working for them and the selectmen have not taken them over no matter what their complaints were," Gintner said. "They're still under the department head supervision."
The first complaint Doig made against Gintner in 2011 ultimately snowballed into a lawsuit Gintner filed against Ayer that has cost the town more than $15,000 so far.
The personnel dispute might potentially be solved with the creation of a new payroll and benefits position, Pontbriand said.
The job contains the same work Doig has been doing, but would put her under the authority of the selectmen, he said.
"The resolution and what's in the best interest of the town is to retain this quality professional employee, have her work for the Board of Selectmen doing largely functions that are the purview of the Board of Selectmen, and move forward," he said.
But Gintner said she has been fighting that plan for four years.
"The only one who can bring that forward to them is me, and they're not following that," she said.
The personnel board and selectmen both approved the change in position, but the effort stopped when selectmen did not approve the job's new grade level.
In separate interviews for selectmen candidate profiles, Selectmen Gary Luca and Pauline Conley offered their own solutions.
Conley, who was the only one opposed in the 3-1 vote for the second transfer in January, said that if it were up to her, she would tell both parties to work it out.
"I've had bosses in my life I didn't want to work for either, and I haven't been able to go to someone else and say, 'I don't want to work for this person anymore,'" she said. "And in the private sector you wouldn't have that much opportunity to diss your boss and be able to change to a different boss simply because you didn't want to work for that boss."
Conley said she does not understand why the town administrator or selectmen have the authority to tell an elected official that she does not have access to her entire office.
But Pontbriand maintains that neither Gintner nor Doig are denied access to anything that they need to work. He said Gintner would not need access to files in Doig's office, which are mainly personnel files that only he and Doig are allowed to access.
Like Pontbriand, Luca also recommended the change in Doig's position to a payroll and benefits title.
"I think she does more for the Board of Selectmen in the position she's in than she does in a treasurer's department, so it'd be nice to call upon her," he said.
"She was kind of getting stagnated by working under the treasurer and I think it's good that she's under Robert now because we can have more continuity with her, being in contact with her more closely," he said.
The management plan will continue until the Board of Selectmen makes a decision on what to do next.
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