Tiverton Town Clerk Dismisses Complaint Against Fort Barton Secretary

The Tiverton Town Clerk dismissed a complaint leveled against a Fort Barton Elementary School secretary for having political paraphernalia on her desk.

After investigating claims that a Fort Barton School secretary was displaying political paraphernalia, the Tiverton Town Clerk dismissed the complaint last week.

The complaint, levied by Hilton Street resident Donna Cook alleged that on Oct. 25, a Fort Barton Elementary School employee had three Tiverton 1st pins on a desk.

"I was not happy to see a town school building being used to distribute campaign material from a [political action committee]," said Cook in her formal complaint. "There should be no campaign activity in our schools. The school department is in violation of the Tiverton Town Charter."

Citing Sec. 1218 of the town charter that states no town employee shall attempt to influence the outcome of an election, Cook requested a formal inquiry.

After receiving the complaint, Mello reported to Fort Barton and Pocasset elementary schools and said she initially saw no visible evidence of political propaganda. After questioning the secretary, she found one pin underneath papers on her desk.

"Once addressed, she immediately threw it in the trash and also stated she did not know who placed them on her desk," said Mell.

During a search of the Pocasset Elementary School, Mello say no evidence of political messages.

After speaking with school teachers and principals Supt. William Rearick, sent a message out to all teachers reminding them that school employees are not allowed to promote a particular political ideal or distribute political messages.Mello said the complaint lacked merit because the Fort Barton secretary did not "knowingly" violate the charter and did not know the political significance of the pins.

"As town clerk, I do not take charter violations complaints lightly and I have investigated your complaint as completely as possible," said Mello. "Nevertheless it is my conclusion that the charges in your complaint are not sufficient to support a charter violation and your complaint is dismissed.

Just Another Taxpayer November 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Does anyone know what happened at last night's Tiverton Town Council meeting?
Tiverton Parent November 27, 2012 at 09:42 PM
They chose not to take further action. Let's hope we're done hearing about this fiasco and keep the legal fees down for a change. It's written up on eastbayri.com.
Tiverton_Red November 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Did the new council lift the TCC-implemented gag order, preventing department heads from talking to the press?
Louis Cypher November 28, 2012 at 12:40 AM


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