Journalism / New Haven Register

Training focuses on harassment

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
May 13, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — The Public Works Department recently completed a harassment training session following undisclosed personnel issues, town officials said.

The training is normal professional development that all town employees undergo, Town Manager Richard Branigan said. But it also may have stemmed from complaints within the department.

“The training is typical training that all work environments have to go through,” said Branigan, who became North Branford’s town manager last month. “There may have been some complaints that I stepped into, some ongoing things, but it’s something that is recommended to be done, and we just happened to get it done in the first couple weeks that I was here.”

Branigan said he could not discuss specific personnel issues that may have led to the training. Public Works Director Fran Merola directed questions on the topic to Branigan.

In his memo to the Town Council for the body’s meeting last week, Branigan wrote, “Issues in Public Works are under review and recommended actions will be followed. These will include specific training for staff to be coordinated by Attorney Michael Rose.”

Rose, an employment litigation attorney in the Hartford law firm Rose Kallor, conducted the training Friday. Branigan said the cost was about $500, although he has not received the bill yet.

Rose could not be reached for comment.

Branigan said that other town departments have had similar training in the past.

He declined to discuss what the other “recommended actions” in the department were, if any, but he said no one has been fired.

Mayor Michael Doody said he has not heard any concerns from members of the Public Works Department.

Doody, who is also deputy chief in the Police Department, said harassment education is built into the training all officers go through in the course of their careers.

“I think the whole town was going to go through it because they’re supposed to do this every couple of years,” Doody said. “I know in the Police Department, we have training money, but I don’t think many other departments really set aside training money.”

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