TOWNSEND -- Selectmen are planning to put personnel policies and procedures under the microscope and the chopping block.
The board wants to review the eight-year-old group of statues that dictate town employees, using a strategy that Town Administrator Andy Sheehan said should cut "sections we don't need, and add others we need and don't have."
Selectmen are planning to review the policies for their next meeting, and raise glaring issues at that time.
Sheehan said he would pull together a comprehensive package of the policies of Townsend, examples from surrounding towns and a review from town counsel.
Concerns for the review stemmed from a debate regarding an adopted Internet policy between the board and employees in February, with selectmen heralding re-drawing to protect the town legally.
Employees felt the board was exercising an unnecessary level of control by barring employees from sharing passwords and sending emails that would be broadcast to all employees through the town administrator.
The policy was adopted, and Selectman Sue Lisio said the decisions regarding such things are the board's alone.
"In the past, in an effort to involve employees, sometimes I think the employees were the ones that decided what should and shouldn't be in there," she said. "Feedback is welcome, but the decision is ours."
Lisio said those conversations are discussions, not negotiations, because personnel policies are meant to protect the town
Echoing her comments, Selectman Nick Thalheimer said the "buck stops with us" and that the board is the town's chief executive officer.
Certain parts of the policy will affect others, Lisio continued.
Selectman Robert Plamondon agreed, saying that the board gives adequate consideration of people's persepctives, even on past issues such as the wage-and-compensation classification plan.
In response for a request for guidance, Sheehan agreed to make the aforementioned information packets, but also cautioned about arcane policies.
The perferred course, according to him, is to reference policies that are dictated by the state or federal governments to rules set by those entities.
"It is going to take a while, but as the board says, it should fall to chief executive," Sheehan said.
Sheehan said resurrecting the Personnel Board would only "add another layer that is superfluous and unnecessary."
The next meeting of the Townsend Board of Selectmen will be on Tuesday to discuss the North Middlesex Regional School District budget.
Follow Luke at twitter.com/lsnashobapub.