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Fired South Portland employee 'not impressed' with report on workplace complaints; details still concealed

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Fired South Portland employee 'not impressed' with report on workplace complaints; details still concealed

SOUTH PORTLAND — Two reports that could determine the fate of a long-time city employee are complete, but as of Thursday morning little information was being released to the public.

Dana Anderson, the director of Public Works and Cultural Services, was placed on administrative leave last month when the city initiated independent reviews of the way Anderson's departments are managed. 

One review was prompted by complaints from Deb Smith, a former operations supervisor at the Community Center, who was laid off in February along with four other employees.

The other review was initiated to make sure the city had proper financial controls in place after Anderson settled a lawsuit that charged him with embezzling about $35,000 from a nonprofit organization. Anderson maintained his innocence, although he paid $900 in the out-of-court agreement.

The review of Smith's claims was completed and released to her and the city by Michael Wing early last week. As with Smith's original complaints, the city is treating the report as a confidential employee document. 

"A copy has been provided to Deb Smith's attorney, Maria Fox, and she is certainly free to release it," Gailey said. 

Smith has called for the city to publicly release the report once it was complete. After Smith and her lawyer did not return repeated calls and e-mails seeking comment on the report or whether they would release it publicly, Smith eventually said in an e-mail on Wednesday that she was meeting with her attorney to discuss her next course of action.

"I was not impressed with the contents of the report," Smith said. "There wasn't much substance in regards to the issues that I had brought forward." 

Smith said her attorney is seeking a face-to-face meeting with Gailey. 

At Monday night's City Council meeting, Councilor Jim Soule suggested the city manager should release the report since it was paid for by the city. Gailey responded that under state law the report is a confidential personnel document. 

Gailey said Wednesday that the Wing report cost the city $7,000, while the internal controls audit cost $3,000. 

Gailey on Wednesday said he would release the one-page internal controls report on Friday. He said he was preparing a memo to the City Council and had not yet reached a decision about whether Anderson would be allowed to return to work now that both reports are complete.

"I have not talked with Dana since the day I put him on leave," Gailey said. "I need to finalize my work that needs to be done with respect to my review of the issues."

Meanwhile, the city has formed an eight-member committee to review and recommend changes to the city's personnel policy, which has not been changed since 1993. Gailey said the group is expected to meet for the first time in early July and he hopes that any recommended policy updates will be ready by this fall. 

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net