Dismissal is criticized

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The town’s associate finance director said she was treated unfairly by the town manager when he told her last week that her services were no longer needed.

Tabbetha Newenham criticized Town Manager Don Lagrange’s April 7 decision in a letter she presented Tuesday to selectmen. Newenham, who worked for the town for seven years, submitted her resignation in February. Her last day was to be May 2.

In her letter, Newenham wrote that Lagrange “has made sure my departure was far from amicable and absolutely humiliating” and that she had never “been treated in such a manner.”

On Wednesday, Newenham said Lagrange gave no reason as to why she was asked to leave before her last day on the job.

“It was belittling, and I believe there was no reason for it,” she said.

Lagrange, on Wednesday, said Newenham’s services are no longer needed because he has hired someone else to fill her position. Renee Atwater, who was working as deputy treasurer of Hancock County, has started work, and there was no need for Newenham to remain in the town office, he said.

Lagrange said he told Newenham he would pay her through May 2. However, there could be disagreement on the exact amount. In her letter, Newenham asserts she is owed $11,722, which includes her salary between April 4 and May 2, vacation pay through May 9 and the payout of her vacation accrual. Lagrange declined to comment on whether that figure is accurate.

At the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, Lagrange suggested that selectmen enter executive session if they wished to discuss the matter. They declined and took no action. Board members did acknowledge Newenham’s contributions to the town.

“I would like to offer Tabbetha my gratitude for her years of service to the town,” said Dan Norwood.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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