Tisbury selectmen, former police officer negotiate deal

— File photo by Ralph Stewart

The Tisbury selectmen and former town police officer Kelly Kershaw negotiated in a closed door session Tuesday and reached “a mutual agreement that is satisfactory to everyone,” as John “Jay” Grande, the town administrator explained. He added that “the matter is closed.” Ms. Kershaw had challenged her dismissal by the selectmen.

Tuesday’s hearing followed a three-hour disciplinary hearing held June 10, when selectmen fired Ms. Kershaw.

Ms. Kershaw’s attorney, Jennifer Smith of Sandulli Grace, a firm that often represents unions, told The Times in a phone call yesterday, “The matter was resolved to the satisfaction of the parties involved.”

The selectmen did not make the terms of the settlement public, nor did Ms. Smith.

The Times called Ms. Kershaw yesterday to ask if she had a comment about the hearing’s outcome. “I don’t have a comment, ever, for the MV Times,” Ms. Kershaw said.

The selectmen interrupted their regular Tuesday meeting to go into executive session for two hours for the grievance hearing. Members of the public were cleared from the Tisbury Senior Center’s meeting room several minutes before Ms. Kershaw entered with Ms. Smith and Chris Kelsey, a representative of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police, the union that represents Tisbury police officers. Brian Maser, the town’s labor attorney from the firm of Kopelman and Paige, and police Chief Dan Hanavan also attended.

The June 10 hearing at which Officer Kershaw was fired was also held in executive session. Selectmen Jeff Kristal, Jonathan Snyder, and Tristan Israel voted unanimously to dismiss her following an internal investigation into violations of police department policy. Attorney Smith told The Times in a phone conversation on June 12 that she and Ms. Kershaw would challenge the board’s decision.

She also said she intended to file an unfair labor practice charge with the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations, alleging that the town failed to provide her and her client with complete information that was the basis for their action. Ms. Smith told The Times yesterday she filed the charge on June 17, and that the state agency will investigate and decide whether to issue a complaint against the town.