Raisin Township supervisor files harassment complaint

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Raisin Township approved at the Monday, July 14, Board of Trustees meeting the hiring of attorney Richard Fanning of the Keller Thomas Law firm in Detroit to investigate a new harassment complaint filed by Township Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh.

Cavanaugh recused himself from the board’s discussion of the matter.

“I recommended the board follow its harassment policy and have this matter investigated independently,” said Township Attorney David Lacasse.

“This is the first I am hearing of this,” said Trustee Debra Brousseau. “I would like more information.”

“Because the nature of this complaint has not been verified yet, it’s not something I am prepared to discuss during an open meeting,” said Lacasse. “If any of you have questions, you can contact me and I will answer any questions that you have. So the integrity of the investigation is kept, I am not comfortable discussing any specifics during an open meeting.”

The only information provided at the meeting was that the complaint came from Cavanaugh. No other parties involved were identified and no other details regarding the complaint were made known.

“I would like to make it understood that Mr. Cavanaugh has no direct contact with our lawyer, except for answering whatever questions he has for his investigation,” said Brousseau.

“Mr. Fanning’s contact with Mr. Cavanaugh for this purpose would be just like any employee of the township,” assured Lacasse.

Trustee Tom Hawkins asked if the board could go into a closed session to discuss the matter further. Lacasse said that the board could not go into a closed session at that time, though could do so at a later date to discuss any findings made in the investigation.

“So we don’t need to know in advance what these alleged harassments are?” asked Brousseau.

“The board cannot go into closed session on its own volition.’ Lacasse. “I am not going to be getting into any specifics.”

The board approved a 60-day timeline for Fanning to complete his investigation.

“I’d like to see answers in 30 days, but I am not sure that is giving everybody enough time. I’d make a motion it takes no more than two months to complete,” said Brousseau.

The board will now wait for Fanning to complete his investigation for more information.

In November, Fanning investigated a sexual harassment allegation against Cavanaugh filed by a former township employee. Fanning made his report to the board in a closed session. Fanning’s recommendation was that all township employees take sexual harassment training.

In March, a signed letter to the township board from the public safety department expressed a lack of confidence in Cavanaugh and asked for his resignation.

In other business, the board:

• Approved allowing the road committee to add information to the Road Tab on the township’s website through Hawkins.

• Discussed if Superintendent Jim Palmer has set hours for when he is available at the township, which he does not.

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