On April 4, 2023

Mendon Town Office now open by appointment only

Public officials site harassment

Staff report

MENDON — The Mendon Town Office is now open by appointment only, according to its website.

“Effective March 20, 2023, in an effort to increase Office Security, the Town Office will be open by appointment only,” it states.

“The safety and wellbeing of the staff and volunteers that serve the town of Mendon is a priority,” officials elaborated in an office-changes-statement. “It is our goal to provide a work environment free from harassment, vulgar language, insults, and threats, while continuing to provide excellent customer service to our residents, taxpayers, researchers and visitors. 

“The town is frequently encountering person(s) coming into the office who are very disruptive, with tirades sometimes lasting as long as 30 to 45 minutes, and occasionally coming into the office twice in the same day. These persons(s) involved are using profanity, yelling, making false accusations and derogatory remarks against office staff and community members. 

“The Mendon town office is a municipal building, while the office is open and we are unable to prohibit anyone from entering. According to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT), there is currently no law on the books in Vermont which would prohibit a person from speaking in a public space. 

“Town cannot ban an individual(s) from entering the building, therefore, the only way to combat the verbal assaults is to close the office completely, allowing entry by appointment only — as was the case during the Covid pandemic.

“The Town is currently working with an attorney to seek a better solution to this problem. Any updates to this policy will be publicized through The Town of Mendon website, Facebook, and FrontPorch Forum.”

The board is planning to meet with an attorney on April 6 for more advice on how to handle the situation.

The decision to close the office except for appointments only was made at the March 13 board meeting. While that decision didn’t require a vote, the motion to seek an attorney’s advice did. It passed unanimously.

For more information and future  updates to the policy visit: 

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