EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 29, 2013

Salem selectman accused of acting out of line

Campbell said to have exceeded authority

SALEM, N.H. — Only nine months after selectmen voted to have fellow board member Stephen Campbell investigated, he’s on the hot seat again.

Campbell, cited last winter for aggressively interrogating and intimidating town employees, is accused of confronting a firefighter and questioning him in a grocery store Nov. 17. Campbell denies the incident occurred.

Shawn Patten, president of the Salem Public Administrators Association, has sent a letter to Town Manager Keith Hickey and human resources director Molly McKean, saying Campbell has exceeded his authority as a selectman.

“SPAA cannot and will no longer accept nor turn a blind eye to Mr. Campbell’s actions or behavior,” said Patten, the town’s deputy police chief.

“It is my belief that formal action, collective or otherwise, on every single allegation, violation, unfair labor practice, etc., against Mr. Campbell and (the Board of Selectmen) will be forthcoming in the near future if he is allowed to continue his abhorrent behavior,” Patten said.

He said Wednesday he has since met with the leaders of the town’s four other employee unions to consider the matter.

“We are frankly sick and tired of Mr. Campbell’s actions,” Patten said. “There is no place for that in a productive workplace.”

Campbell has asked about the number of hours worked by town employees, especially police and firefighters. He said public safety could be jeopardized if police and firefighters are allowed to work excessive overtime and special details.

Selectmen briefly discussed the incident Monday that reportedly occurred at a local Market Basket, saying it was an issue that likely would be addressed at a future meeting.

Few details were released, but Campbell denied approaching a firefighter in the grocery store. He said residents often come up and speak to him when he’s at the store.

He continued to deny confronting a firefighter when contacted two days later.

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