A lawsuit filed last week in Dukes County Superior Court alleges that the town violated the state’s whistleblower law by issuing a reprimand to a police department employee in retaliation for the woman reporting alleged wrongdoing by the chief.
The suit, filed by Patricia Mark, the administrative secretary to Chief Daniel Hanavan, alleges that three days after she reported acts “she viewed as illegal,” the chief reprimanded her for a workplace infraction. Ms. Mark was reprimanded on August 4, 2016, according to the complaint, three days after she made an unspecified allegation against the chief.
The three-page complaint, which names Chief Hanavan and town administrator Jay Grande, provides no details of the allegations against the chief or why Ms. Mark was reprimanded.
Mr. Grande amended her reprimand after she filed a grievance, according to the suit.
Chief Hanvan referred calls to Mr. Grande, who said there is no substance to the allegations that the chief did something illegal. “I haven’t found anything to be uncomfortable about with that,” Mr. Grande said.
Without discussing specifics of the case, Mr. Grande said he’s confident the town has acted appropriately. “I believe it was resolved correctly,” he said, declining further comment because it involves a personnel matter.
Attorney Ted Saulnier, who once served as Tisbury police chief, is representing Ms. Mark. He declined to give specifics of her allegations. “That will come out as this plays out in court,” he said. “Or it won’t, if they want to settle.”
The law protects an employee against retaliation, he said. Mr. Saulnier declined to say if, besides the reprimand, Ms. Mark was passed over for promotion or failed to receive pay increases. “That will come out in discovery,” he said.
Asked about being the former chief, Mr. Saulnier said, “That has nothing to do with this case.”