LACONIA — The Personnel Committee of the Belknap County Convention has voted unanimously to reinstate Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator Mathew Logue to the position he was fired from by the Belknap County Commissioners in late August.
The decision was announced yesterday afternoon by two of the three committee members, Rep. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith) and Rep. Robert Greemore (R-Meredith), who met yesterday at the Belknap County Complex to approve minutes of the two and a half hour non-public session held Monday night at which the decision was made and in which Rep. Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), who was not present yesterday, also joined the unanimous vote.
The committee also voted to enter into the record a three-page copy of its decision but did not reveal its contents until asked by County Finance Director Glen Waring what the decision was as they sought to close the meeting.
Worsman then read the decision to those who were at the meeting, most of whom were nursing home or county employees, most of whom were already aware of the decision due to the circulation of a communication from Burchell earlier in the day which said that the decision had been to reinstate Logue without loss of pay.
Logue was terminated by commissioners effective September 13 and had been notified by the commissioners in a letter sent to him on August 27. He subsequently appealed the termination to the Personnel Committee, which heard testimony for nearly six hours at a hearing on Monday, October 6.
According to the committee's statement, their deliberations focused on the issues of dishonesty, neglect of duty, willful in subordination and lack of cooperation, which witnesses called for the county commissioners had testified to on Monday.
At Monday's hearing County Administrator Debra Shackett had testified that there were at least two times in which Logue was untruthful with her, in February of this year when he had told her that all of the personnel evaluations except one had been completed, and in May of this year when she inquired about developments in a situation with an employee identified only as Employee A and he had told her that it was being handled with meetings every other week.
She said that she was shocked to discover a month after Logue had told her that evaluations had been completed except for one that none had been delivered to the Human Resources Department.
Shackett also said that in August, when she talked to Employee A, whom she had questioned Logue about earlier, the employee told her that no meetings had been held regarding her situation.
Employee A testified behind closed doors at Monday's hearing.
The committee said that Logue had credibly and persuasively testified that he had delayed submitting evaluations because some were due shortly after he assumed his duties in December of 2012 and he wanted more time and in other cases he had evaluations. They also found his testimony credible in the situation with Employee A.
The committee also noted ''although the commissioners presented credible evidence that Mr. Logue neglected important duties when he failed to submit his budget, staff analysis and employee evaluations in a timely, the Personnel Committee found Mr. Logue's testimony credible and more persuasive.''
The committee also sided with Logue on charges of willful insubordination for failure to sign a disciplinary letter and said that despite evidence that he had failed to cooperate with the county administrator, the Human Resources director and Finance director on several occasions that some of the delays came as a result of his ''sincerely held beliefs regarding the proper administration of the nursing home.''
After Worsman read the letter, Waring said from his seat in the audience that the report ''was not worth the paper it was written on,'' and there was a general clamor of discontent from the audience.
''It's a circus. I've never seen anything like this in my 40 years here,'' said Deborah White of Belmont, the longest tenured employee at the Belknap County Nursing Home.
''I'm ashamed of them,'' she said of the committee members, adding ''If I were them, I wouldn't show my face in public.''
Fellow employee Carolee Sliker of Laconia, who has been at the nursing home for 16 years as dietary manager, said ''I'm appalled that after the amount of evidence brought forth on Monday that they came up with a decision like this. It's a disservice to our residents, their family members and staff to bring him back. They should not be putting the nursing home in jeopardy for political reasons.''
Sliker said that she and more than 40 other nursing home employees had signed a petition which was circulated last week asking that Logue not be reinstated. County Administrator Shackett confirmed that she had received the petition Friday and that it had 43 signatures.
Belknap County Commissioner Steve Nedeau (R-Meredith) said he was ''disgusted'' with the decision. ''Evidently they (the committee members) didn't go to the same hearing I was at Monday.''
Thea Aloise of Gilford, whose husband, Dana, is a resident at the nursing home, said that she thinks the committee had no intention of listening to what the county officials had to say at Monday's hearing. ''I think it was pre-determined before they ever started.''
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 1383