NORRIDGEWOCK — Allegations by a former town clerk that she was the victim of age discrimination at the Town Office are unfounded, according to a report from the Maine Human Rights Commission.

The report states there is no reason to believe that Town Manager Michelle Flewelling discriminated against the former clerk, Charlotte Curtis, because of her age. While the commission’s findings are not law, complaints and investigations may be grounds for lawsuits.

After an investigation is complete, the commission’s findings must be voted on by its board. Most recommendations by investigators are upheld, although some findings do get reversed, said Cindy Albert, case controller for the commission. The vote is scheduled for May 20 at the commission offices in Augusta.

“It appears to have been a thorough investigation and, if approved, would exonerate the town from the claims made by Charlotte Curtis,” said Jonathan Brogan, attorney for the town.

Curtis said she had no comment on the commission’s report except that she would consider an appeal of the decision, if possible.

Curtis, who is on the town’s Board of Selectmen, Planning Board and Board of Tax Assessors, filed a complaint with the commission in May 2011 alleging that she had been denied raises and that her work had been interfered with because of her age.

The complaint was filed against the town; but Curtis, 67, said at the time that it was aimed at Flewelling.

Curtis has worked at the Town Office since 1989 or 1990, according to the report. While serving as town clerk and motor vehicle agent between May 2009 and February 2010, she filed three complaints with the Board of Selectmen and a union grievance against the town manager. At the time, she also was the town treasurer and a member of the Planning Board, both elective posts.

Flewelling was hired in August 2008 as the town manager and her initial personnel evaluation rated Curtis as “excellent” in her job as town clerk, according to the commission report.

In May 2009, however, Curtis alleged that her work as the elected town treasurer was being disrupted by Flewelling because of an issue about a sewer bill. Flewelling was Curtis’ supervisor of the town clerical work, but Curtis worked independently of the town manger as the treasurer.

Curtis later was found to be purposely not recording liens on unpaid sewer accounts because, she said, she did not want people’s homes to be foreclosed on simply because they were not paying sewer bills.

Curtis was fired from her job at the Town Office on Jan. 30, 2012, for making secret audio recordings of conversations at the front desk.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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