Braintree Town Clerk Absent From Office Over 'Personnel Matter'

Town Clerk Joe Powers was seen arguing with councilors Tuesday night.

Braintree Town Clerk Joe Powers in the town vault. File photo.
Braintree Town Clerk Joe Powers in the town vault. File photo.
Braintree Town Clerk Joe Powers has not been in his office at Town Hall since Tuesday night, when following a Town Council meeting he angrily confronted several town officials.

The Town Council voted Tuesday, after a swearing-in ceremony and council re-organization, to table a matter scheduled for executive session about an unspecified human resources issue. 

Councilors would not confirm whether the matter was related to Powers, but immediately after they tabled it and closed their meeting, Powers approached a number of officials and asked them why they pushed off the executive session until later this month, in some cases using obscenities that could be heard by those nearby, gathered for a celebration following the swearing-in.

Powers was not in his office Wednesday or Thursday morning, staff said. He was not on a scheduled vacation or work-related trip.

Mayor Joseph Sullivan referred questions about Powers' behavior and his absence to Council President Tom Bowes. The Town Council appoints the Town Clerk and serves as his employer.

"It's a personnel matter that we're handling internally," Bowes said.

Bowes declined to comment on whether Powers has been suspended and when he expects to see Powers back in his office.

Powers did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

This is not the first time that Powers has butted heads with the council.

Last year, Powers filed an Open Meeting Law complaint with the state Attorney General over how the council handled scheduling meetings about a travel and meeting expenses audit and a corresponding policy.

The council sent a letter refuting Powers' allegations and is waiting to hear back from the AG's office.

Powers was re-appointed to his position for a three-year term in July 2012 by a 4-3 vote of the council after some councilors brought up unspecified personnel concerns in the clerk's office.
Bill Manley Sr. January 15, 2014 at 05:55 PM
I think that Mr. Powers is being attacked. And the reason is because one of the Councilors who retired this year wants to have a friend of his named Town Clerk. Sad, but true. I'll give you a clew: the "friend" is now Secretary to the Councilors. Maybe he deserves it, but that's politics as usual in Braintree!


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