by Mark Adams, Stevensville
I read the article about the Tribbensee settlement with some interest (Oct. 6 edition of the Star). There are some glaring questions I have concerning Ms. Tribbensee’s allegations against Mr. Michalson, Ms. Holcomb, Ms. Barker, and Mr. Smith.
First, Mr. Michalson and the others were serving on the council long before Ms. Tribbensee arrived and there were no grievances filed by any of the other Town employees during that time. Also, Mr. Michalson and the others continued to serve after Ms. Tribbensee left yet there were still no grievances filed during that time either. Ms. Tribbensee seems to have a one-way attitude on this issue. She accuses Mr. Michalson of harassment yet she waited beyond the 10-day period stipulated in the personnel handbook to file her grievance and then she said there were multiple instances of harassment. If she and the Mayor had played by the rules, perhaps things would have worked out differently.
Second, either shortly before or shortly after Ms. Tribbensee arrived, Mayor Dewey had locks installed on the doors and allowed the public, including the Council in the office area by appointment only. How could Ms. Tribbensee be harassed from behind locked doors? Not only that but Ms. Barker and Ms. Holcomb work full time so their harassing time is limited at best, and besides I believe they have better things to do.
Third, I attended most of the Council meetings that Ms. Tribbensee attended and did not see any harassment by any member of the public toward her, including members of the Council. I do recall one meeting that Ms. Tribbensee accused Mr. Michalson of harassment by email. The email in question was a request for information by Mr. Michalson. Ms. Holcomb read the email and stated she found nothing wrong in the language of the request. To that Mayor Dewey responded that it depended on who was doing the reading as to how to interpret the words. How is that possible with a simple request for information?
The article goes on to state the Town’s insurance rates have gone up due to the litigation. That is nothing compared to the increases that are coming once the pending lawsuit goes to court. Ms. Tribbensee stated the MMIA was eager to settle the case which is probably true but not for the reason she implies. With attorneys charging between $500 and $1500 an hour for court time, it gets real expensive real fast. Even if MMIA wins they still have to pay attorney’s fees which could add up to far more than a cheap settlement.
Ms. Tribbensee, in her statement said the harassment was “unbelievable.” I can see that.