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Jackson selectmen have no comment on administrative assistant's removal

Union Leader Correspondent

February 13. 2013 7:42PM

JACKSON - The town of Jackson is looking for a new administrative assistant, and not everyone is happy about that.

Diane Falcey, who had worked as the office manager at the Jackson Town Offices, was dismissed last month. Selectmen are not releasing any details about what they say is a personnel matter and therefore not public information.

"We really can't comment on the matter," said Selectmen Chairman Jerry Dougherty IV, but he did say that Falcey's last day was Jan. 30.

Falcey has her supporters, and just how many will likely be evident in the results of the upcoming election, when Dougherty faces a challenge from former selectman Gino Funicella.

Falcey had previously filed a grievance against Dougherty in February 2012, which was investigated by a law firm. The complaint was for discrimination, threatening and bullying.

At the selectmen's meeting on Jan. 3, Falcey read an open letter, alleging that the board was retaliating against her for having brought the complaint forward. She said that, "In accordance with the report findings regarding my grievance, I am to report acts of retaliation against me to Selectman John Allen."

She said she has complained numerous times to Allen, "regarding Jerry's unrelenting and repressive control over the affairs in my department." After bringing complaints to Allen on Dec. 19, 2012, she said Allen replied to her that if she didn't like her job she should quit.

Among her recent complaints, she objected to the drafting of a change in her title from office administrator to town office administrator/administrative assistant, which was done without her input, and which, she said, diminishes her present position, is gender discriminatory and constitutes retaliation. She also objected to the selectmen allowing the town moderator, at a board meeting, slander her reputation with what she said were false accusations.

She said that Dougherty "continues to take control as the sole selectmen, to micromanage with his overbearing, rude and repressive behavior while the other department heads continue to enjoy autonomy in running their department."

Dougherty declined to answer directly if Falcey was fired or not, but Falcey's answer was clear. She said she was put on administrative leave after the Feb. 3 meeting, and then fired.

"I've done nothing wrong and I'd like to go back," she said, adding that she loved her job and has gotten support from the community.

The town elections are on March 12. Asked what he thought his chances are for reelection, Dougherty said, "I feel like I'm getting an awful lot of support." He said residents are calling him and thanking him for his service to the town.

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