LACONIA — Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator Matthew Logue has apparently resigned his position, but details remain unclear following a Wednesday morning meeting of the Belknap County Commission.
Commissioners Wednesday morning said Logue would be leaving his post and that an explanation would be forthcoming. Questioned during the public input session near the end of the meeting by Gordon Blais of Meredith over Logue's resignation, Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton), said legal documents were being prepared and that once they are finalized they will be available to the public, an indication that there is some kind of negotiated agreement regarding Logue's departure.
Commissioners approved an agreement with LTC Resources of Newbury to provide services of an interim administrator at the rate of $600 a day for up to two days a week until a new administrator is chosen. LTC Resources is headed by Robert Hemenway, a former Sullivan County Nursing Home administrator.
Logue has been at the center of many disputes between current members of the commission and in recent months has been publicly criticized by both Taylor and Commission Chairman David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) regarding budget transfer requests. In October, he was called back to a meeting to
explain the apparent need for further transfers for several accounts which an up-to-date budget report had shown were exceeding the budget line item.
When Logue said he had used an Aug. 31 budget report as the basis for his earlier requests, Commission DeVoy asked ''Why would you be working off an August report in October?''
Logue was also discussed at what DeVoy said was the most heated nonpublic meeting of the commission, which held in late July. The core issue discussed at the meeting was a response to a grievance filed by Logue against the county which apparently named the commissioners and County Administrator Debra Shackett as offenders. The nature of the grievance was not described in the meeting minutes but is alluded to in minutes of earlier nonpublic sessions.
At the July 15 meeting, commissioners discussed a request by Shackett for legal representation in the "Logue matter," which Commissioner Taylor said was premature, as the claim had been communicated to the county's insurance carrier.
''The carrier will have to make a determination as to whether the allegations set forth in the Logue demand letter are within the coverage of the county's (insurance) policy,'' the July 15 minutes read.
The so-called demand letter from Logue's attorney was brought up by Commissioner Taylor at the same meeting when he questioned whether or not Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) was suggesting that the commissioners consider offering Logue ''the $80,000 referred to in his attorney's demand in return for Mr. Logue's resignation.''
Logue, who was hired in December of 2012, had been fired in August 2014 by the former Belknap County Commissioners and appealed his firing to the Belknap County Convention's Personnel Committee, which at that time consisted of former convention chairman Rep. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), Vice Chairman Rep. Bob Greemore (R-Meredith) and Burchell, who at that time was a state representative from Gilmanton and clerk of the county convention.
The committee voted unanimously following a lengthy hearing in October of 2014 to reinstate Logue as nursing home administrator and denied a request from the former commissioners to reconsider the issue, which led to them filing a suit with the New Hampshire Supreme Court to overturn the reinstatement. But Burchell and DeVoy, who were the only two commissioners to take office in early January of this year, voted to drop the appeal and reinstated Logue. They had made their intention to drop the appeal public before they took office.
Burchell, who was elected as chairman of the commission in January, was ousted as chairman in early March and replaced by DeVoy at a March 2 meeting during which Burchell attempted to prevent his ouster by continually rapping the gavel and declaring that the other commissioners were out of order.
At a June 4 meeting commissioners Taylor and DeVoy censured Burchell for leaking information from a nonpublic meeting to Logue and in July unsealed the minutes of seven nonpublic meetings held while Burchell was chairman.
The minutes of the nonpublic meeting of Feb. 23 showed that Logue had filed a grievance maintaining that electronic mail communications were illegally taken from his work computer, depriving him of the opportunity to refute charges made against him by County Administrator Debra Shackett at the October hearing.
Regarding a written statement on Logue's grievance, which he had filed with Burchell on Feb. 16, commissioners Taylor and DeVoy pointed out that Logue had not been denied a request for restoration of his work e-mail and had been directed by the county administrator's office to contact Mainstay Technologies, the county's information vendor, to inquire about the feasibility of restoring his e-mail history.
At the time he filed his grievance, the process of restoring his email was already underway, according to the two commissioners, who said the time requirement for filing a grievance is within five working days of an employee knowing that they have a grievance, and that Logue, who had returned to work on Jan. 8, had discussed the missing emails with Administrative Assistant Angela Bovill in mid-January. They concluded his grievance had not been filed on time and denied it.
The commissioners also said Logue's conclusion that his emails were wrongfully taken had no evidence to support it as there was no hint of any intentional wrongdoing. Logue had been away from his work computer for four months but had received an e-mail file prior to the Oct. 6, 2014, hearing containing all of his email history.