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Joyce Endee

Second county employee files complaint against two commissioners

August 02, 2012
OSSIPEE — A county jail employee, upset with the way his grievance was handled, accused two of the county commissioners of being "biased and unprofessional" at their meeting July 25.

And while Dean Perry, an eight-year employee of Carroll County House of Corrections who once held a sergeant position but was recently demoted to correctional officer, chose to read his three-page grievance publicly, the commissioners had little to say about it, citing their legal obligation to remain tight-lipped about personnel matters discussed in non-public session.

His grievance, as was the case with the grievance filed earlier this year by a nursing home social worker, only finds fault with two of the three county commissioners, David Sorensen and Dorothy Solomon. Perry's grievance states that the two commissioners "collectively and knowingly have made several false statements, broken several county and state policies and have violated my civil rights."

Perry appears to leave Commissioner Asha Kenney out of the complaint because she did not support his demotion and suspension, as she did not think the severity of action taken against him was justified. Perry stated that he filed his first grievance on June 13 because he thought the disciplinary actions taken against him were unfair. He also claims that he then asked the board to arrange a formal investigation by an outside source and that he made it clear he would only speak to the investigator due to his "fear of continued harassment and retaliation."

Perry further claims that the investigator, human resources assistant, as well as the superintendent and captain of the jail had no right to review his personnel file without his permission.

Sorensen said the sheriff and the county attorney were both asked if either could conduct the investigation into Perry's original grievance, in the interest of saving money in legal fees. Earlier this year Sorensen had announced that the legal line in the county budget is already overspent due mainly to the $17,500 spent to conduct an investigation into a grievance filed by the former human resources director against Kenney and the more recently filed harassment complaint filed by the nursing home's social worker against Solomon and Sorenson.

Since the county attorney and the sheriff could likely be called upon to investigate and even prosecute whatever happened at the jail, both said they could not assist. Perry's June 13 grievance and supporting paperwork was sent to the Belknap County Jail superintendent, who agreed to investigate and write up whether or not, in his opinion, the disciplinary action against Perry was justified. The commissioners have not made the results of that peer review available to the public.

Perry accuses the two commissioners of being biased, breaking many laws, and abusing their authority. Perry also states that he will no longer be subjected to the "good ole boy" antics and that Kenney is the only commissioner that has been fair, unbiased, and said. "I feel that if the other two commissioners had her integrity and desire to lawfully deliver fair and just treatment to county employees I would have already been given a formal and unbiased investigation."

N.H. Rep. David Babson (R-Ossipee) questioned why Perry was allowed to read his grievance when filing it July 25 but the commissioners were unable to respond with their side of the story.

"We have held scheduled three nonpublic hearings and in each case he (Perry) failed to provide his information at this hearing so we could make a judgment. The first one we excused because he didn't have access to his personnel folder. The other two he didn't come in prepared to talk about his side. That's why I don't want to get into his side of it. That's nonpublic information that we have. If this goes further to court or whatever I don't want to be accused of letting stuff out that is nonpublic. He can let out all the information he wants to and he did. He did not go as far as saying what he is accused of. We've given him ample opportunity to give his side and he has declined to do so. If we don't hear his side of the story, what choice do we have? I've been trying to be as fair as possible. We gave him opportunity to bring witnesses. We arranged with the jail to get those witnesses off duty and have someone else fill in for them. It hasn't happened," said Sorensen.

Because Perry has decided he wants the spotlight on this second grievance to be in public, commissioners scheduled a public administrative hearing for Aug. 1 to discuss Perry's grievance.

Because that hearing was held after press time, the outcome will be reported in next week's edition.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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