By Beth David, Editor
Fairhaven’s Assistant to the Town Administrator, Vicki Oliveira, has been assigned to a clerical position at the public works department, effective this past Monday, 8/15/22.
The first public indication of the move was a Facebook post by Tracy Travers, who has also sent a letter to the editor (see page 18). In the post Ms. Travers said that Ms. Oliveira was “fired” for “failure to keep confidential information confidential,” but then writes that the information in question was already public knowledge. She does not, however, say what the alleged information was.
The assistant to the TA position is classified as a “confidential employee,” and is not a union position. It is an at will position that serves “at the pleasure of the TA,” according to several sources familiar with personnel structure in municipal government.
Confidential employees are privy to sensitive information, including personnel matters, ongoing negotiations, and executive sessions.
Town Administrator Angie Lopes Ellison would not comment on the details of the situation. She would only say that Ms. Oliveira was not “fired,” but was reassigned to public works. The TA has the authority to reassign employees, including to the PW department, for a maximum of 60 days. The position at the PW is a Sewer Department Principal Clerk, which would result in about a $30,000 pay cut, according to public records of employee salaries.
Ms. Ellison would not confirm or deny the reason for the move.
“It’s a personnel matter, so I can’t get into the specifics,” said Ms. Ellison in a phone interview. “It’s a temporary assignment.”
In her FB post and letter, Ms. Travers alleges the move was retaliation because Wayne Oliveira, who is Vicki’s husband and the chairperson of the Historical Commission, spoke against moving the Select Board office and other building changes that Ms. Ellison is instituting in town hall (see 7/14/22 issue).
The Neighb News also found out through a variety of sources, that Mr. Oliveira had an altercation of some sort with Ms. Ellison on Thursday, 8/11. Ms. Oliveira had been notified of the move on Monday, with Friday being her last day in the TA’s office.
On Thursday, an ambulance was called to town hall to tend to Ms. Oliveira for an unspecified reason. According to sources, her husband and Ms. Ellison arrived in the room at approximately the same time. At that point, Mr. Oliveira verbally confronted Ms. Ellison and demanded that she not go near Ms. Oliveira.
Fairhaven Police Department spokesperson Kevin Kobza confirmed that an ambulance call was made to the town hall, but said that the police unit was canceled before it arrived, so he had no details on what transpired in the building.
Ms. Ellison would not comment on the matter.
In an email statement, Ms. Oliveira said her reassignment was a shock to her.
“My work ethic has always been in the best interest of my hometown,” wrote Ms. Oliveira. “Although this came as a complete shock to me I will continue to serve the town in my new capacity at DPW.”
Her husband would not comment on the alleged altercation with Ms. Ellison.
“No I don’t,” wrote Mr. Oliveira in response to an email asking if he wanted to send a statement.
But then he added, “Angie was in the room when Vicki was transported by ambulance and I simply demanded that she leave the room. I don’t want her anywhere around my wife.”
According to public works superintendent Vinnie Furtado, Ms. Oliveira has the right to apply for the sewer principal clerk position, which the department is actively recruiting to fill now. The Board of Public Works is the hiring authority for that position.
Click here to download the entire 8/8/22 issue: 08-18-22 TeddyBear
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