Additional details are available about a workplace conduct complaint filed in mid-September against a Milton town employee by a former town staff member. The ex-employee, Sheila Mooney, is the former executive assistant to Milton Town Manager Don Turner, Jr.

Mooney declined to be interviewed. However, she has provided documents showing that she filed the workplace complaint against Turner. Other documents show the Milton Selectboard’s response to that complaint is at the heart of a subsequent Vermont Open Meeting Law violation complaint she filed.

Mooney wrote that last April, Turner wanted to re-open the town offices to the public in early May from a pandemic-related closure. At the time, some Milton employees that were unvaccinated against COVID-19 wanted to get a vaccine but hadn’t yet been able to do so.

Mooney noted that she was concerned about those staffers possibly being exposed to the virus if Turner re-opened the offices when he wished. She alleged that she and an unvaccinated male town employee both told Turner as much and received different replies, which Mooney described as “a double standard”.

In September, Mooney complained to the Milton Selectboard that she’d resigned from her job on April 30. She cited, in her words:

“Don’s continued unwillingness to put the health and safety of Town employees first, and his
repeated public degradation of Town employees which created a hostile and toxic work
environment…

During the December 15 Selectboard meeting, attorneys gave the town legal advice regarding Mooney’s complaint against Turner in an executive session. The minutes from that evening show that the closed session lasted for more than an hour.

“Number one, the board discussed the matter in executive session but did not take any vote,” Selectboard Chair Darren Adams said during a January 6 meeting. “And number two, there was no motion made after the executive session to make any determination or pursue any course of action.”

Mooney believes otherwise. She wrote that the board took a formal, binding action in violation of the Vermont Open Meeting Law. However, she did not mention what that purported action was or what led her to believe it was taken.

On December 17, Adams wrote a letter to Mooney to say that the board had completed its review of her complaint. He added that the board found Turner had not violated any law or any town policy.

“While the communication with Ms. Mooney may have resulted in a mis-impression, I do not believe that a violation of the Open Meeting Law occurred,” Adams said on January 6. “I responded to Ms. Mooney as a courtesy.”

In a statement Turner provided on Friday, he wrote:

“I am aware of the complaint Sheila Mooney filed on September 15, 2021. The Selectboard had the complaint investigated and based on the information received elected to take no further action regarding the complaint. I wholeheartedly deny that any violation of law or Town policy occurred. Thank you.”

The Milton Selectboard’s next meeting is this coming Tuesday, January 18. Two of the listed agenda items are an “Executive Session, if needed” and “Possible Action as a Result of Executive Session, if needed”. There’s no indication if those items are connected with this matter.