WINDHAM — A town councilor said an initial third-party review of concerns raised in the Public Works Department was “sabotaged” and called the Town Council a “snake pit” last week.

Councilor Jarrod Maxfield made the comments during the council’s Aug. 28 meeting while criticizing council leadership.

Council Chairwoman Donna Chapman said at the meeting that she expects a second, expanded third-party review of all town departments soon will be available to the public.

The council voted 7-0 on July 10 to approve $25,000 for that review, which was conducted by Portland-based Opus Consulting Group, Chapman said.

Town management initiated the first outside review, which was conducted by consultant William O’Brien and released in March.

That first report found a need for more leadership, communication, accountability and trust within the Public Works Department. The report also outlined various steps to deal with those issues through a corrective action plan.

Public works employees and their Teamsters representative were not satisfied with the first review or the town management’s response implementing the corrective action plan, voting no confidence in department and town leadership while calling on the council to intervene.

Chapman in July called the second review “one way that these complaints can be looked into in a fair and unbiased way.”

Chapman said last week that the council reviewed a draft report of the second review during an executive session on Aug. 27. A version of the report that does not include personnel information identifying employees will be made available to the public in the near future, she said.

“Because again, it was taxpayers’ money,” she said. Chapman said the cost of the review is about $25,000, the amount approved by the council.

Maxfield has clashed occasionally with Chapman since last fall, when she became chairwoman for the second time. He read a prepared statement during the councilor comment portion of last week’s meeting, in which he gave the initial impression he was resigning before emphasizing that he would not do so.

“In my opinion, this first $8,000 organizational review was sabotaged by some members of town staff and some members of this council to further their own vindictive vendettas and not allow a process that the taxpayers paid for to complete,” Maxfield said.

In an interview last week, Chapman pushed back against that claim. “None of us sabotaged that report in leadership or on the council,” she said.

Maxfield called the council a “snake pit” and said the council chamber is “often where good ideas, facts and reason come to die.”

“I want to resign, but there’s not a chance that I’m going to – because I don’t quit,” he said. “I’m going to press on, and from now on I’m going to be here to point out the hypocrisy, lies and lack of leadership until something changes that finally benefits the people of Windham in a manner that they deserve.”

He claimed that other council members “deride and bully town staff, council members and even guests as a matter of standard operating procedure” and said that “the last year has been a year of chaos, dysfunction and a disservice to the people of Windham from this council.”

Following last week’s meeting, Maxfield declined to mention any fellow councilors by name when asked by a reporter whom he was talking about in his remarks. None of his colleagues responded to his comments during the meeting.

Asked about Maxfield’s remarks last week, Chapman said that “all views are appreciated, as long as it doesn’t become a personal attack.”

Chapman acknowledged that she and Maxfield have “had differences of opinion in the past” and said he is entitled to his opinion.

Matt Junker can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 123, or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @MattJunker

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