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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Dennis Clarifies Administrator’s Duties

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By Camille Sailer

DENNISVILLE – Dennis Township Committee approved an ordinance March 26 with several new provisions “governing the powers and duties of the township administrator.” The ordinance stated that it is “in the best interest of the township and its personnel to expand the powers and duties of the township administrator to include the authority to recommend discipline of township personnel to the committee.”
Left unsaid was that these provisions were in reaction to the saga of cross-accusations and eventual proposed and/or desired disciplinary actions on the table to be taken, specifically through the administrator, Pat Moran, related to the performance of Recreation Center Director Kim Herron.
At the March 12 committee meeting, Mayor Zeth Matalucci read the findings of an investigation by outside counsel of the situation with a timeline going back more than two years (https://bit.ly/2I0Fugu). Subsequent to that reading, it was learned that what Matalucci read was redacted text.   
The ordinance provides that among the existing duties of the administrator are:
* She/he is to act as liaison between the mayor, committee, and all boards, departments and officers of the township.
* The administrator is to be responsible for the maintenance of sound personnel policies and administrative practice
* To study and make recommendations with respect to personnel.
New provisions in the ordinance specifically provide that the administrator has “the authority to recommend to the mayor and committee discipline of all township personnel” after certain steps have been taken. These steps include issuing preliminary notices of disciplinary action to personnel and provisions related to any hearings on disciplinary charges according to the employee’s collective bargaining agreement, and that committee has the right to serve as the hearing officer or it has, by resolution, the authority to appoint an independent third party to serve as hearing officer on a yearly or individual basis.
Another new provision provides that committee can confirm, amend or ignore any recommended discipline of the hearing officer prior to the issuance of a “Final Disciplinary Action.”
The provisions conclude with the item that committee “will remain as the final authority and will keep the absolute power in implementing or rejecting discipline of township personnel.”
Robert Herron, Kim Herron’s brother and a frequent attendee at committee meetings, along with Kim Herron’s mother, were present at the meeting. Robert Herron repeated questions and criticisms he made at past meetings about the fairness of the disciplinary process related to his sister’s employment.
“I am praying for each of you,” said Kim Herron’s mother. “$14,000 for a report that is not public is a waste of taxpayer money,” said Robert Herron.
At previous committee meetings, residents voiced their interest that the full report be made public in written fashion to further transparency in the matter. According to statements by Robert Herron, Kim Herron was not given a copy of the report, although she requested one through an OPRA (Open Public Records Act) filing that was denied.
Moran stated those interested in listening to the mayor’s reading of the report March 12 could go to the audio, which is available on the municipal website (https://bit.ly/2JVVjHN).
To contact Camille Sailer, email csailer@cmcherald.com.

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