Hinsdale awaits draft audit of town clerk's office
HINSDALE, N.H. -- Town Hall has not yet received a draft audit of the town clerk after ordering the procedure in August.
A two-month internal investigation earlier in the year raised suspicions about possible misconduct on the part of Tammy-Jean Akeley. Unexpected closures of the town office, alleged inappropriate behavior toward citizens and potential poor management of money associated with motor vehicle registrations were among the reported problems regarding her job performance.
The Hinsdale Board of Selectmen then ordered the audit, but Town Administrator Jill Collins said the auditing firm the town uses has not yet put together its draft. Chairman Michael Darcy said the investigation resembled an onion, with multiple layers needing to be peeled back.
Akeley herself said she was told to compile paperwork of all her professional tasks stretching back three years for the auditor, who she said never came to speak with her.
But Akeley has submitted to the selectmen a letter addressing some their accusations.
"Your allegation that the clerk's office has been closed this year for 10 days, and nine since May, is incorrect," she wrote. "My records show that the office has been closed only nine-and-a-half days total since January 1, 2013."
Akeley said she, as of Monday, Sept. 9, had used two sick days, two-and-a-half personal days and five vacation days.
"Historically, my records show I have never used all of the allotted sick, personal or vacation time that I am permitted like other town employees of my same tenure," she wrote.
Darcy told the Reformer the internal investigation revealed Akeley had been receiving both her salary and a $2.50 convenience fee by citizens paying the state portion of their vehicle registrations through the town (instead of driving to Keene). However, he said, a state law prohibits a town clerk from doing both. Collins said a town clerk is reimbursed with the fee only if they are not on salary with the town. The fees are otherwise intended to offset the town's costs to keep the office open.
Based on the number of registered vehicles in Hinsdale, it is possible Akeley has received an extra $12,000 in each of her 13 years as town clerk, according to Collins. Akeley took over for Jean Savory, who died on Aug. 30, 2001.
Akeley, who said she makes $18,000 a year, told the Reformer the selectmen acted mischievously by changing her status from hourly to salary-based shortly before making their allegations. She said she initially made $10.95 an hour for 66 hours every two weeks but got her pay bumped to $11.10 an hour, only to be cut back to 64 hours every two weeks. But Darcy said this is inaccurate and Akeley was paid hourly after taking over for Savory 12 years ago and then became salaried, like every other elected town official, when she was elected in her own right.
Akeley, who said her lawyer will soon be in contact with the selectmen, told the Reformer she has not gotten her convenience fees in months and now makes just $710 every two weeks. She also said she has been subjected to a hostile work environment.
"I'm like a non-person here," she said. "They speak to me when they need something from me."
Darcy said he couldn't comment on Akeley's statement and was not interested in having a "mud-slinging match."
Collins said she is not sure what Akeley means by "hostile" and said everyone is cordial with one another at town hall. She said everyone in the selectman's office says hello to Akeley whenever she visits to use the fax machine or pick up her mail.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.
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