Buchanan Town Council approved a statement at its August meeting that found there was no basis for a citizen allegation earlier this year that Mayor Larry had been disrespectful toward employees in the Town Hall.
Council voted 4-0 to accept the statement from Vice-Mayor Jamie Manspile, who had read the Jay Chambers letter at council’s April meeting making the allegation that Hall had been disrespectful of the women who work in the town office and a female council member.
Council’s May meeting drew so much interest because of the allegations, it was moved to the Buchanan Theatre, where council has met several times since.
Council agreed to hire an attorney or investigator to look into the allegations that Hall denied. The employees were advised at the time to not make any statements pending the investigation.
Council hired an attorney and an investigator that will wind up costing the town close to $15,000 total.
“This attorney has conducted a thorough and confidential investigation into the allegations of the complaint,” the statement said. “Upon completion of her investigation, the attorney found no basis to determine that the mayor discriminated against any female employee on the basis of her sex.”
The statement said the attorney met with council in closed session to brief members on the findings and afterward each member of council expressed agreement with the findings.
“At this time, we, as Buchanan Town Council, consider the matter to be closed. Because this investigation involved a personnel matter, we are not at liberty to discuss the investigation publicly, and we ask the members of the public to respect the confidentiality of all parties involved,” the statement reads.
The statement also referenced “rumors around town” that some think there were allegations that the mayor was sexually harassing women in the town office, and that the mayor was being investigated for sexual harassment.
“Let me be clear— there has been no allegation that the mayor has sexually harassed anyone. No one has accused the mayor of sexual harassment,” Manspile said and the statement reads.
Hall said he accepted the statement from Manspile and council, and told the audience during the meeting that was held in Buchanan Theatre that he “was floored” by the allegation.
“I was very hurt by it, and it affected my family so much so my wife ended up in the hospital,” Hall said. “This was very shocking to me.”
He said supervising town employees is done professionally. “Employees are always treated with respect.”
Hall said Manspile has apologized to him, and “as a Christian, I forgive him.”
Hall said Buchanan is a wonderful place, adding, “I’ll put this behind me and will work with council members to make Buchanan a better place.”
Resident Cleatus Newcomb asked how much the investigation cost, and Hall said it will be in five figures. After the meeting, he said he expects it to cost the town close to $15,000.