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February 13, 2013

Salem selectmen seek probe of fellow member

Campbell criticized for aggressive behavior


“I’m sorry if you found anything I said intimidating,” Campbell told her. “I don’t see that I did anything wrong.”

Campbell and Selectmen’s Chairman Patrick Hargreaves, who defended Campbell for his “passionate” desire to get answers, said they were unaware of incidents involving three other employees.

Campbell said it’s no surprise some town employees don’t appreciate his conservative fiscal approach.

“I know because of my voting record, I may not be their favorite selectman,” he said.

Campbell said yesterday he doesn’t have any malice toward anyone for raising the issue.

“(McKean) did what she felt she had to do and I don’t think I did anything wrong,” she said. “It’s a difference of opinion.”

Selectman Everett McBride said the issue had become a distraction. Selectmen must deal with more important matters, including the town budget, he said, but acknowledged more courtesy is needed.

“I just think we all have to be respectful of one another, that’s all,” he said.

But Selectmen James Keller and Michael Lyons said they were taken aback. Lyons asked the board to express its dissatisfaction with Campbell’s behavior through a formal vote.

“The way this memo is worded is troubling,” Lyons said. “I think this is pretty significant here.”

Keller agreed.

“No employee in this town should feel intimidated by a member of this board — never, for any reason,” he said.

“This is pretty serious stuff.”

Keller recommended an investigation be conducted by the county attorney, attorney general or another investigator after Hargreaves said there wasn’t much the board could do.

“This board can do something if it wants to,” Keller said.

“I’m pretty ticked and motivated to get someone outside of town to take a look at this.”

Selectmen voted, 4-0-1, to launch an investigation. Campbell abstained.

Keller said yesterday the board will have to decide at its next meeting who would investigate the matter.

Hargreaves and Hickey are scheduled to discuss the issue further tomorrow.

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