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Council Says Letting Martin Retire was in Town's Best Interest

"The deal with Mr. Martin was in the best interest of the town of Tiverton," said Town Council President Edward A. Roderick.

Responding to outrage over the Town Council's 6-1 vote in executive session to let disgraced Town Maintenance Foreman Bob Martin retire instead of firing him for doing personal work on town time, council members last week said they really had no other option.

"The deal with Mr. Martin was in the best interest of the town of Tiverton," said Town Council President Edward A. Roderick. "As far as the compensation he received, in his union contract, whether he retired or was fired, he'd be entitled to it."

Roderick said the town actually made out better than what could have happened, a scenario that Town Council members took turns describing as a potentially costly legal battle that would have eaten up much more than the $35,000 payout Martin will get for unused vacation and comp time upon his retirement in April.

"These are issues we struggled and fought with, but in the best interest of this town, that was the decision we reached," Roderick said.

Councilwoman Denise M. deMedeiros said she voted against the agreement, but she agrees with it because she "felt it was the fiscally responsible thing for the council to do."

In the end, if they fired Martin, he'd still get the payout and could embroil the town in a lengthy grievance process. And what if two years later he won his case? He could be back working and "we didn't accomplish anything," deMedeiros said.

"There were many facts you don't know and many facts we can't allow out there," deMedeiros said. "I do know what it must look like being out there to look in but you have to trust that we had all the facts . . . and did what is best for the town."

The council members' comments came after several residents lambasted them for the agreement. 

Jim O'Dell said anyone can sue for anything these days, which means reacting out of fear of a lawsuit is cowardly. The council should have taken the opportunity to take a stand and say that employee misconduct is unacceptable and won't be tolerated.

"These decisions are making Tiverton a damn laughing stock," he said.

"Whoever negotiated this agreement on behalf of the town has done a disservice," said Heather Martino. 

But council members insisted they were stuck between a rock and a hard place, to quote Councilman James Arruda. 

"There was obviously issues going on in the town for a long time and this is the council that actually decided to deal with them," Arruda said. The deliberations leading up to the decision took long hours, it might not be popular but "I'm doing the best I can for this town."

Arruda said NBC10 did not cooperate with the state police or the town so "we couldn't use anything they had," referring to footage aired that showed Martin apparently doing personal work on town time. 

"How frustrating do you think that was for me?" Arruda asked. "When I know what needs to be done and I can't do it."


Rug Doctor February 20, 2014 at 08:27 AM
Tiverton Employees Who Steal Come 1st!!!
Disgusted in Tiverton April 05, 2014 at 11:56 PM
I would like to know who the one member on the council had the morals to do the right thing and vote the lone nay vote. I want to vote him/her back in again. One legal problem with this deal is that Town employees can only be paid for up to one hundred days of accrued sick days. Problem two - Comp time? He used it working on his rental property and using town employees and equipment to do it. Robber Martin got so much more and why do you think that happened? Problem number three -What information did he have and how many people did he have in his back pocket? What does this tell the taxpayers. I'll tell you. The good olde boy network is very alive and well established in Tiverton and the taxpayers don't matter and never have. The more you have on the politicians and employees the bigger the payout to you...from the taxpayers. Sounds like a win win situation for some. So don't forget to thank Bob for your tax bill cause he helped and is laughing at you anyway.
Marge Stockbridge April 06, 2014 at 08:35 AM
Agree with 'disgusted'. No one mentions the morale problem he caused to employees in his department. If they protested in any way, he could retaliate--and this went on for years; while I only heard of his abuses just before whistle blown on him, I understood workers under his supervision were resentful, upset and only stayed because they needed a job and money for their families. So, let's publish a list of Council members who voted to reward (in a big way) negative behavior...a real lack of morality in current Council, and no amount of explanations will keep them in THEIR jobs next election.
Fed Up April 06, 2014 at 09:01 AM
Disgusted in Tiverton...in answer to your question, the only council member to vote against the settlement was Denise DeMedeiros.

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