May 7, 2010

Judge declines to shield mayor from ex-staffer

The conduct of Westbrook's terminated finance director did not meet the standard for a protection order, she rules.

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WESTBROOK — A judge has refused to grant a protection-from-harassment order that Mayor Colleen Hilton sought against Susan Rossignol, who lost her longtime job as the city's finance director in January when Hilton did not renew her contract.

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Colleen Hilton, Westbrook mayor

Cumberland County District Court Judge Jane Bradley ruled April 27 that there was insufficient evidence to grant Hilton the order. The ruling says Rossignol, 60, did not engage in three or more incidents with the intention of causing Hilton fear and intimidation -- the standard for a protection order.

Robert Ruffner, the attorney representing Rossignol, said she did nothing that would justify a protection order.

"There were never any threats made," Ruffner said. "She is someone who is very interested in and committed to the city of Westbrook."

Hilton was granted a temporary protection-from-harassment order by the court on March 22. According to Hilton's complaint, Rossignol had been showing "increasing and elevating anger" toward her and, in one instance, toward her family.

Two days later, police served Rossignol with the protection order and a criminal trespass notice. The protection order barred Rossignol from having contact with Hilton or being around her home or workplace. The criminal trespass notice prohibits her from being at City Hall for a year.

Police also issued a criminal trespass notice to Rossignol's son, Eugene Dunn Jr. of Westbrook.

Rossignol met with police Sgt. John Desjardins on Wednesday and asked police how to dissolve the trespass notice issued to her. Police Chief William Baker said the notices will be effective for one year.

Rossignol said she deserves the right to visit City Hall to conduct business.

"I am a taxpayer," she said. "What happened to me after 32 years of working for the city, I deserve more than a three-hour notice (of her termination) and a kick out the door."

Hilton said Thursday that she hopes the judge's decision will allow Rossignol to move on with her life.

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com

 

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