Updated: Selectman Kessler Questions Rec Director's Fairness Selecting Summer Employees
Recreation Director Danielle Strauss said the process for selecting employees is fair and the Park League selections rely on a lottery.
Selectman Glenn Kessler questioned the fairness of town Recreation Department Director Danielle Strauss's past selection of young people to fill life guard and Park League day camp positions.
The selectman also said residents will be reassured to know the town administrator will be involved in the selection process this year.
At Wednesday's selectmen's meeting, Kessler said about a dozen residents told him last year when he was running for selectman that they had concerns about the selection process for these jobs. He said some of them claimed that the director had been biased as she selected employees for the seasonal jobs.
Board Chairman Rich Malagrifa and member Barry Greenfield said they had not heard these complaints. And the chairman said the former town administrator, Andrew Maylor, had never mentioned residents questioning fairness selecting employees for summer jobs.
The current town administrator, Tom Younger, said he has not heard these complaints from residents, either. Younger was selected as Swampscott's town administrator one year ago.
Fellow board member David Van Dam said he has received calls from residents concerned about the recreation director's involvement in selecting the employees.
Selectman Jill Sullivan was not at Wednesday's meeting; she was at the high school attending her daughter's induction into the National Honor Society.
Selectman Sullivan said later that she did not think the meeting was an appropriate forum for commenting on a town employee.
The recreation director, who was watching the meeting on television at home, said in an interview after the meeting was over that Kessler unfairly targeted her for criticism.
"I felt like he put my name out there as doing something improper," she said.
She disagrees with the allegations of unfairness.
She said the town has a policy in effect to make sure the applicants get a fair chance at a job.
She and personnel Director Nancy Lord interview the candidates. Most of their names, an estimated 90 percent, end up going into a hat to be drawn in a lottery system, she said.
Town Administrator Tom Younger said he has confidence in his team.
The administrator said that, as a new administrator in town, he will sit in on the interviews to see them first hand and have a role in the process.
Selectman Kessler also questioned the town bringing back summer employees for up to three summers.
Director Strauss said the return of qualified employees strengthen the program and many of the children look forward to seeing their counselors the next summer.
Selectman Greenfield endorsed the program, saying his children have taken part in it the past three years and it is well run. He said some people would like to see the day camp's hours extended.