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Can't we all just get along? Salem officials say answer is yes

SALEM - After meeting privately with Selectman Stephen Campbell and other staff members on Monday morning, town officials said they've resolved recent issues surrounding Campbell's alleged "hostile" behavior.

During Monday night's Board of Selectmen's meeting, Chairman Pat Hargreaves said the solution ended up being a simple one.

"We need to keep an eye on how we talk to our employees," Hargreaves said. "Being respectful is important whether you're a selectman or a town employee."

In early February, the four other selectmen had voted in favor of bringing in an outside party to investigate recent complaints against Campbell. But later that month, the board learned such an investigation would prove too costly and instead opted to handle the matter internally. The incident in question occurred earlier this year when Campbell had a verbal altercation with Human Resources Director Molly McKean and some of her employees.

In a memo McKean sent to Town Manager Keith Hickey on Feb. 1, McKean said Campbell spoke "aggressively" to other employees over the course of an in-office discussion on a town-related matter. Hargreaves said McKean was present at the recent meeting, and the matter has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. He stressed that town employees should be subject to "absolutely no retaliation" when reporting problems with selectmen or vice versa.

"There has to be an open door, and all elected officials are included in this," Hargreaves said.

Hickey said he was pleased with the outcome of the staff meeting and all agreed the matter could be put to rest. Hargreaves stressed, however, that selectmen need to be notified immediately if further issues arrive. The board voted unanimously to put the matter to bed, with no further discussion. Campbell didn't comment on the matter during Monday's meeting.

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