PEPPERELL — The Board of Selectmen did not accept Town Administrator Andrew MacLean’s choice on Monday night of an independent investigator to probe town finances.
Selectmen Lisa Ferolito and Bill Greathead voted 2-1 on Dec. 17 to search for and hire an independent firm to probe possible financial irregularities against a former town employee. The lone dissenting vote was cast by Roland Nutter, who is the husband of Town Treasurer Debbie Nutter.
Although Ferolito wants a probe, she requested MacLean get more references from HR Key Solutions of Wrentham.
MacLean agreed and will re-propose the small firm on Jan. 28, complete with substantive references and company background.
According to town records, it was Ferolito who first levied the allegations against a former town employee in February of 2018, claiming the employee knowingly signed off on payment paperwork for employees who hadn’t worked a full week.
MacLean says that according to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) law, “exempt employees, which many town workers are, are not held to specific schedules and are paid for 40 hours. Some week they might work overtime but only get paid for 40. The next they might only work 30 hours. They are not eligible for overtime.”
According to MacLean and Deb Nutter, Ferolito is misinterpreting the state’s FLSA law as it applies to exempt town employees.
“There have been multiple attempts to explain it to the board that there is no fraud here,” MacLean said. “Including by two law firms.”
Auditor Jim Giusti, who was at the meeting has expressed no concern with payroll.
The cost of the investigation is an estimated $3,000, according to MacLean, adding, “I am confident they will find no wrongdoing.”
“She keeps beating a dead horse,” Nutter said of Ferolito.