The Oakland Town Council on Wednesday abruptly placed its town manager on administrative leave without explanation, the Morning Sentinel reported.
Town Manager Ella Bowman was placed on leave after an executive session Wednesday night that was not on the meeting agenda. Bowman told the Morning Sentinel she was not given an explanation, and Council Chairman Mike Perkins declined to comment when contacted by the Morning Sentinel on Thursday.
Bowman reportedly did not attend the executive session about her, which was added during the meeting, but regretted it, recognizing only later that she had the right to be in the room.
Matt Tarasevich, an attorney with the Portland law firm Bernstein Shur, which represents the town, told the Morning Sentinel that Bowman actually would not have been allowed to attend, citing a special provision of the state Freedom of Information Act that allows the town to consult privately with its counsel about legal rights and obligations.
Tarasevichtown additionally said the town is “constrained” from giving a reason for placing Bowman on a leave of absence because it involves a “confidential internal personnel matter.”
Bowman, 63, who is transgender and described herself as the only “out” transgender town manager in the country, has held her post for nine years. For the previous 15 years, she was a police officer for the town of Oakland and was named officer of the year in 2003 and 2010. Earlier this year she was named municipal employee of the year by the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce.
She told the Morning Sentinel she has never been written up during her employment or had any disciplinary issues.