By Anne O’Connor

SHIRLEY — Selectmen have been accused of violating the Open Meeting Law at a Feb. 27 meeting during which they placed Police Chief Thomas Goulden on paid administrative leave.

The complaint filed by Bryan Dumont states:

* Selectmen voted on an agenda item that did not indicate a vote would be taken;

* The employee who was the subject of the vote, Goulden, was not present;

* A personnel action should have addressed in an executive session.

Dumont is the husband of former Selectmen Chairman Kendra Dumont, who was removed from office along with Bob Prescott in a January recall election.

The agenda item that night was listed as “Safety at Work Report” and as “Discussion.”

That report was conducted after a grievance was filed and complaints were made by former Sgt. Alfreda Cromwell in late 2015 and early 2016.

Goulden accused Cromwell of giving fraudulent testimony in an early November hearing with the Board of Selectmen. The board demoted her from sergeant to patrol officer for not following instructions. The board fired Cromwell on Nov. 9 at Goulden’s recommendation, because the chief determined Cromwell was untruthful during the earlier hearing.

Board Chairman Rico Cappucci said the board is waiting to hear from town counsel about Dumont’s complaint.

Based on what the lawyers recommend, the board will have a choice to correct and redo whatever happened or to send the complaint on to the state Attorney General, he said.

A vote might be taken even when it is not listed on the agenda, Cappucci said. “Sometimes you don’t know where it’s going.”

The votes on Feb. 27 took Town Administrator Patrice Garvin by surprise. If there is an off-chance that a vote may be taken, she said includes the term “vote may be taken” on the agenda.

“We’re trying to be consistent with that,” she said. “We’re trying to limit Open Meeting Law complaints.”

Following the Feb. 27 meeting, Garvin arranged an Open Meeting Law training. Greg Corbo of KP Law, the town counsel, will conduct the training at no charge.

All members of the town boards and committees are invited to the training on March 28 at 7 p.m. at the Town Offices at 7 Keady Way.

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter and Tout @a1oconnor.