LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners plan to appeal the Belknap County Personnel Committee's decision to reinstate Mathew Logue as administrator of the Belknap County Nursing Home to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
"We're absolutely going to appeal,'' said John Thomas, chairman of the Belknap County Commissioners, who said commissioners are going ahead with the appeal even though two incoming commissioners, Richard Burchell and Dave DeVoy, say they do not intend to support an appeal of the Logue personnel matter.
Logue is currently on administrative leave, with pay, pending the outcome of an appeal of the committee's decision.
''It is counter-productive, in our view, to spend time and the public purse on a course of action which has been repudiated by the voters,'' Burchell and DeVoy say in a letter to the editor published in today's Daily Sun.
DeVoy, a Republican, last week defeated Democrat Dave Pollack in a race for the county commission seat which was vacated by two-time commissioner Ed Philpot (D-Laconia).
Thomas was defeated in his bid for re-election in the Republican primary in September by Burchell, who is currently clerk of the Belknap County Convention and a member of the personnel committee. Burchell voted on October 10 as a member of the committee to reinstate Logue, who had been fired by the commission in late August .
In late August the commission terminated Logue for what it termed willful insubordination, lack of cooperation and inability to perform his duties in a timely manner, claiming that he was "untruthful and unreliable'' in dealing with county officials. Logue appealed his termination to the personnel committee, composed of Representatives Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), who chairs the convention, Robert Greemore (R-Meredith), the vice-chairman and Burchell (R-Gilmanton).
The committee held a day-long public hearing on October 6, at which attorney Mark Broth of Manchester presented the case against Logue and Logue spoke in own defense.
Four days later the committee voted unanimously to reinstate Logue, after finding his defense of the charges against him to be "credible and persuasive''.
The decision of the committee was met with disbelief and anger by a number of employees of the nursing home, more than 40 of whom signed a petition requesting that Logue not be reinstated. Belknap County Finance Director Glen Waring at that time termed it ''not worth the paper it's written on''
The motion for a rehearing filed by attorney Broth alleges that the Personnel Committee's decision is '''unlawful, unreasonable and irresponsible.''
The motion also says the committee's decision ''leads to an absurd result with dangerous implications for the county as an employer. In essence, the Personnel Committee has found that a county employee can refuse to perform job duties if the work assignment runs contrary to the employees ''sincerely held beliefs.''
Broth further maintained that the committee's decision ''has effectively told employees that rather then take responsibility for your decision, it is acceptable to lie to your employer.''
Thomas said yesterday that he has already seen the letter from the incoming commissioners and that he wasn't surprised by it. ''They've been trying to insinuate all along that the present commissioners have been breaking the law. The whole convention, with a few exceptions, have been like little sheep following the lead of chairman Worsman,'' said Thomas.
He said that the present commission is also working on an appeal on a ruling by Belknap County Superior Court Judge James O'Neill III which prohibits the commissioners from transferring more than $300 between budget line items without approval of the Belknap County Convention's Executive Committee.
But the only incumbent commissioner left to pursue those appeals after the first of the year is commissioner Steve Nedeau (R-Meredith), who presumably would be outvoted by the incoming commissioners.
''As commissioners elect, we would like to state that Belknap County has wasted much time and money on lawsuits. Vanity aside, the current County commissioners should respect the wishes of the voters of Belknap County and out an end to expensive legal wrangling,'' Burchell and DeVoy wrote in their letter.
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