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Seekonk Selectman Apologizes to Town Staffer

Dave Parker at first refuses to apologize to Seekonk Executive Assistant Anne Rogers for alleged slander because he says he did not slander. He later offers the apology.

The dispute between Seekonk Selectman Dave Parker and Anne Rogers, the town's executive assistant, came to an end Wednesday night when he apologized for allegedly slandering her at the May 30 Board of Selectmen meeting.

It is not clear if Parker's apology was genuine because he said more than once during Wednesday night's selectmen meeting that he had no reason to offer an apology.

"I am more than willing to apologize if I said anything that was an attack on her," said Parker in response to Selectman Bob McLintock's statement that it appeared Parker would not apologize. "If you know what I said [on May 30], then you know full well it was not an attack on her."

Rogers alleged that Parker slandered her May 30 when he read out loud email exchanges he had with the Boston Passport Agency in which he was following up on why the selectmen's office had not been granted the right to issue passports. For the office to be allowed to do this, Rogers had to pass an online test. Parker said at the meeting, "[Rogers] took that test as you know, and she passed that test. And it's been over a year since she passed that test."

This statement, Rogers said, implied she had lied about passing the test. Parker has denied that was his intent, and insists he was actually defending her.

[Go to listen to Parker's May 30 statements.]

Board of Selectmen Chair Francis Cavaco on Wednesday read an email out loud in which Parker called the complaint against him "a lynching." He did not back down from the use of that word.

"In my opinion what I am going through here tonight is a lynching," Parker said.

Rogers clarified on Wednesday that she did not want Parker removed from the board [although a town attorney said that would not be possible], but rather that she wanted an apology and respect for her and other town employees.

"We do not need to be slandered," Rogers said.

After several vibrant exchanges between Parker and McLintock and well as commentary from the other selectmen, Parker said, "I apologize." Rogers then thanked him.

Doreen August 09, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Having known Mr. Parker for a very long time I find it difficult to believe he would slander anyone. Did anyone even consider his comment, if stated as presented in this article, was taken out of context? When the test was taken almost a year prior and services are not being provided to the community in a timely fashion than what's wrong with asking questions? Did the town pay for the administration of the test? I don't pretend to know all the details, however, it seems as though a lot of time has been devoted to this topic and yes to me it has been handled improperly by the BOS and TA not the employee. The only reason the employee's name is made public is because they chose to put it there. Now everyone, please get back to work!
Joyce Leven August 09, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Where is the slanderous comment? Where is the accusation of lying? Maybe I'm missing something. It appears that he was defending her.
deb of see-attleboro August 09, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I did not see last nights meeting. However, he should have apologized. If not for slandering Mrs Rogers, but for the "cardinal sin" of micromanagement.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 08:19 PM
No need to watch the meeting. The Cliffs Notes video version is attached.
Emcee of Seekonk August 09, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Micromanagement... there you go. The whole thing was hurt feelings vs stubborness (I will not apologize). Eventually hurt feelings won the day, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. My eyes were on the town counsel who sat through nearly 4 hours of agenda items. Your tax dollars at work. I gave up on that meeting, but I think it went on until midnight.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 08:40 PM
It went until 12:20 a.m. We'll have more stories from the meeting shortly.
Emcee of Seekonk August 09, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Oh my !!! Did they wake up Don Kinninberg in the audience so he could participate in the Community Speak? Everyone was so punchy, the weren't even making sense any more.
Nelson Almeida August 09, 2012 at 09:15 PM
This bi-weekly BOS meetings need to end. We have too much going on in our town to have our issues only addressed bi-weekly. Weekly meetings is what we need and deserve
Emcee of Seekonk August 09, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I agree totally.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Emcee, Don Kinniburgh did not speak under public comment. But he was there until the end. He and I were the only non town officials in the room at the end.
Michael Kreyssig August 09, 2012 at 10:52 PM
If Mr. Parker's comments are what is printed in this article, I fail to see where "slander" took place.
deb of see-attleboro August 10, 2012 at 09:47 AM
The offense probably did not rise to the level of slander. However, to a professional such as Anne Rogers Mr Parker's investigation into the matter could be interpreted as insulting. Then for him to read the email's publicly simply compounded the insult. Maybe the EA is being overly sensitive. I think the apology was long overdue and avoidable. Mr Parker should have just kept his nose clean and asked the TA to follow up. Lesson learned? Probably not.

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