WAKEFIELD — Town Clerk Mary K. Galvin says she really wants to go back to work but she doesn’t feel the current environment in Town Hall would be good for her health.
Galvin collapsed in her first floor office on April 8 and spent the next six days in Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. Her doctors initially thought she had a heart attack or a stroke. As it turned out, Galvin was diagnosed with emotional stress brought on by certain pressures she felt as she did her job as Town Clerk.
The final stressor, Galvin says, was a “nasty” memo she received shortly before her collapse from Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio. The memo, according to sources, involved various grievances filed against Galvin by past and present employees in her office.
This morning, Maio said the town “does not comment on personnel issues.”
But Galvin did. She claims to have had an on-going “problem” with Temporary Town Clerk Rose Morgan, whom the selectmen appointed to the post after it became clear that Galvin wasn’t coming back to work anytime soon. Galvin said she reported a number of “rudeness complaints” concerning Morgan to both Maio and Town Counsel Thomas Mullen. Galvin also says Morgan wants her job. Galvin also said Maio has subjected her to years of abuse.
Morgan said this morning nothing could be further from the truth as far as wanting the job and the claim that she “yelled” at her superior when Galvin was on the job as Town Clerk.
Galvin was reelected to another term as Town Clerk on April 22, two weeks after being hospitalized with emotional distress.
Her absence from the office and her inability to do her job have not gone unnoticed.
One very important observer, Finance Committee Vice Chairman Dan Sherman, today is calling for Galvin to retire.
In a letter to the Item Forum today, Sherman — who also sits on the town’s Retirement Board — said he has been told that Galvin has recovered adequately and should be performing her duties as Town Clerk.
Sherman writes, “We missed your services at the spring Town Meeting and the April election despite your apparent recovery. I fully expected to see you at the fall Town Meeting, up on the stage checking (Town Moderator) Bill Carroll’s math. But you were not there. In fact, you have not provided any services to the Town since early last year. Why did you run for re-election last April when you had no intention of carrying out the duties of the Town Clerk? Why are you not providing the services we elected you to carry out and you swore to provide?
“Do you think it is fair to the Town to be receiving $75,586.16 in salary for the current fiscal year and provide no services? Do you think it is fair to be increasing your pension during this period of absence? Do you think it is fair to the Town to require the Town Administrator to unnecessarily move people to fill in for your absence, decreasing the efficiency of the delivery of services to the citizens? Is it your intention to provide no services for your entire three year term and collect over $225,000 in salary, plus benefits?
“Of course you understand that there is little the Town can do about this situation because you were elected by the citizens last April for a three year term. There is no provision in the Town Charter for a recall election. The Selectmen have declared the position vacant and appointed Rosemary Morgan as the temporary Town Clerk. I think she has done a wonderful job under the circumstances; don’t you?
“It seems to me that this situation is the strongest argument for Wakefield to join the majority of towns and change the Town Clerk’s position from elected to appointed.
“You have provided many years of valuable service to the Town but you are brutally tarnishing your reputation. For the sake of the citizens of the Town and its hard working dedicated employees, please retire,” Sherman concludes.
Galvin said, “I would like to go back to work. Peacefully. Last April, when I was sworn in for another term, Bill Carroll told me I could not go into my own office without a doctor’s note. That hurt me very much. And the doctors said it would not be healthy for me to return under the current circumstances.”
She continued, “I have almost 32 years with a perfect record with the Town of Wakefield, 20 years with the Board of Selectmen as administrative secretary to the Town Administrator and 17 of those as a clerk to the Board of Selectmen. In addition, I have a spotless record with the people, having topped the (municipal election) ticket every time.
“I have been devoted to both jobs for 32 years. There is more to this story than Dan Sherman knows about.
“Back on April 8, I didn’t just collapse. I collapsed after years of abuse by Steve Maio,” Galvin said.