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Amended personnel bylaws to go before selectmen

The Personnel Board met recently to discuss nine bylaw changes that will be presented to the Board of Selectmen on Sept. 13. During the Personnel Board’s Sept. 5 meeting, Chairman Michael Griffin recommended the addition of a Domestic Violence Leave Policy. “This is a leave benefit that an employee has if they are in a domestic violence situation,” he said.

The policy would allow employees to take 15 unpaid days off from work each year. The policy also states that employees must use that time for things such as counseling, getting medical attention, securing housing, obtaining a restraining order and attending to other legal proceedings.

Griffin also recommended that the town adopt a Whistleblower Protection Retaliation Policy. “It’s fairly straightforward, there’s a Massachusetts State Statute on this,” he said.

He also said a clean version should be presented to the selectmen rather than the “red line” version that shows the various revisions. “It opens up a can of worms,” said Griffin.

However, the board later agreed that the “latest red line version” would be given to the selectmen.

In addition, board members agreed that employee files should only be accessed by the selectmen and the Personnel Board in the event of a disciplinary proceeding.

There was also discussion regarding a transgender employee policy. “Cambridge, Boston, Amherst and Northampton all have human rights bylaws,” said Member Gail Marcus.

Member Kip Sanford asked about the degree of detail needed in such a policy. “I wonder if this thing needs to be that dynamic,” he said.

Because of the high level of sensitivity that would be involved, the board ultimately agreed that Town Counsel Thomas Mullen be consulted before doing anything further. “We have to kick this to Tom Mullen,” said Griffin.

Griffin shared a social media policy that he obtained last year from “another town” and said that Lynnfield should adopt one of its own. But he said a social media law should exist on the state level before the town moves forward with a policy of its own. “If there is no state law, the town shouldn’t have a policy until it is fully fleshed out,” he said.

Griffin said that the role of the town administrator should be revised to include the “training, development and performance review of directly reporting department heads.” He also said the timing of the performance reviews should be moved from December and January to May and June.

The bylaw revisions will be reviewed by Mullen and Town Administrator James Boudreau before they are presented to the selectmen.

By Christopher Roberson

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