WAREHAM — Wendy’s wants the people of Wareham to know that they don’t share the sentiments of the district manager for the local store.

On Monday, District Manager Keith Helger responded to customer Matthew Rose’s complaints about long waits and early closings by stating that “the town of Wareham has little to no talent pool to hire from,” and that qualified candidates are hard to come by “as most are recovering addicts, and we cannot hire them.”

Wendy’s later released a statement to WBSM News that said the company does not support Helger’s statements and that there is no company policy preventing them from hiring recovering drug addicts.

Rose said he spoke Tuesday afternoon with M. Coley O’Brien, the Chief People Officer for The Wendy’s Company. He said the conversation was “definitely productive.”

“I honestly believe that as a company, they are definitely sorry for the actions of the DM,” Rose said. “He stated that the DM is suspended pending an internal investigation.”

While the language used by Helger may have seemed insensitive to Wareham residents, many who commented on social media posts about the incident actually felt there was some truth to what he was saying. Others stated it was no wonder the Wareham Wendy’s was having trouble attracting good candidates, if those were the views held by one of their supervisors.

“(O’Brien) seemed to agree that (Helger’s) views on the community could have had an effect on the condition and operation of that store,” Rose said. “He also told me that they have team members and leaders throughout the company who have ‘overcome hardships’ in their lives and are valued members of their brand.”

O’Brien also told Rose that he would be reaching out to Wareham Town Administrator Derek Sullivan “to further help in changing the public’s view of the company,” Rose said.

Rose said overall, he is satisfied with the response of The Wendy’s Company in the sense that they seem to want to make a difference, but that it’s just a start.

“I will be completely satisfied when we can see it,” he said.

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