WAKEFIELD — The Board of Selectmen this week defended Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio against allegations made by Town Clerk Mary K. Galvin. In a story in Monday’s Daily Item, Galvin blamed an illness that has kept her out of work since last April on “years of abuse by Steve Maio.”

Galvin collapsed in her first floor office on April 8 and spent the next six days in Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. Doctors initially suspected a heart attack or a stroke but ultimately Galvin was diagnosed with emotional stress brought on by certain pressures she felt as she did her job as Town Clerk.

Galvin told the Item that the final stressor was a “nasty” memo she received from Maio shortly before her collapse. That memo reportedly related to various grievances filed against Galvin by past and present employees in her office.

Galvin was re-elected to another three-year term last April 22, two weeks after her hospitalization. The Selectmen appointed Rose Morgan as temporary Town Clerk once it became clear that Galvin would be out for an extended period.

On Monday of this week, Finance Committee member Daniel Sherman wrote a letter in the Item Forum calling for Galvin to either return to work or resign.

Galvin told the Item that she would like to return to work but has been advised by her doctors that it would not be healthy to return “under the current circumstances.”

On Monday night, members of the Board of Selectmen defended Maio during the “comments” portion at the end of their meeting.

“I have dealt with Mary Galvin many, many times,” Selectman Phyllis Hull said. “She has always been polite, very helpful and I’ve never had a problem with her.”

But Hull also said that during her two terms on the Board of Selectmen she has always found Maio to be “open-minded and fair. I cannot even think of anybody saying he was spiteful or mean.” Hull called the allegations against Maio “a real untruth.”

Selectman Patrick Glynn said that he has known Maio for 20 years. “He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body,” Glynn said.

Chairman Brain Falvey described Maio as “patient to a fault.” He called the use of words like “nasty” in relation to Maio “wholly improper.” He said that the tone of the allegations would help people to make a judgment on the credibility of the accusations.

“Steve, we have your back,” Falvey assured Maio, adding that he was confident that Maio’s handling of Town Hall personnel was “always fair and even-keeled.”

After board members had their say, Town Counsel Thomas Mullen pointed out that Maio has always acted with the advice of counsel in all of his dealings with Galvin and others in the Town Clerk’s office. Mullen said that in those matters Maio has never acted against the advice of Town Counsel.

He added that in his view Maio acted “appropriately and with great self-restraint.”

Maio did not respond to the accusations or to the comments made by board members.