Town Manager disciplined for outburst at Trustees meeting

ROCKINGHAM — An exchange on parking permit revenues during the Nov. 13 Trustees meeting, between Municipal Manager Tim Cullenen and village resident James Mitchell, has drawn public criticism.

Members of the village Board of Trustees and the town Selectboard on Nov. 20 followed up with an executive session that resulted in a letter in Cullenen's personnel file.

A comment Mitchell made on parking permits revenue apparently provoked Cullenen.

“Would you explain to Mr. Mitchell - use really small words and talk really slowly,” Cullenen asked Village President Roger Riccio.

“That was rude,” one audience member said.

A flurry of letters to the editor in multiple newspapers commented on the incident and called Cullenen to account.

“I have also witnessed his anger at other meetings and his inability to be civil, not only to members of the public, but even to his own trustees,” wrote resident Judy Lidie [Voices, Nov. 28], suggesting that the municipal manager seek anger-management counseling.

Later, on Nov. 20, a joint special meeting was called to discuss a personnel issue, and because of the sensitive nature of personnel issues, was held behind closed doors in executive session.

The reason stated for the executive session was “for the purpose of a disciplinary or dismissal action against a public officer or employee and that Attorney Ray Massucco and Human Resource Coordinator Kerry Bennett be invited to attend.”

When the joint board came out of executive session, “Joshua Hearne made the motion that the Rockingham Selectboard authorize the Selectboard Chair to sign the letter as discussed in executive session to Municipal Manager Timothy Cullenen and place a signed copy of the letter in his confidential personnel file,” according to the meeting minutes.

The motion passed unanimously.

Responding to questions about the matter at the Nov. 27 meeting, Riccio said he could not discuss the contents of the letter, noting only that Cullenen was on leave and would be returning Dec. 3.

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