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County jail director will return

May 06, 2009
OSSIPEE — Carroll County Jail Director Dennis Robinson will be back on the job in June after a 90-day suspension without pay resulting from a March drunken driving conviction.

According to court records published in the Colebrook Chronicle, 60-year-old Robinson was arrested in Pittsburg on Feb. 27. On March 19, he pled guilty in Colebrook District Court to driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and was fined $600. An open container charge from the incident was placed on file without finding, conditional on one year of good behavior.

Days later, on March 25, county officials placed Robinson on a 90-day unpaid leave. "There's not much I can say. I was picked up for DWI, I went to court, and now I'm serving my sentence," he said when reached at his Center Barnstead home on Wednesday morning.

Robinson said he needed to be accountable for his actions, especially after his experiences with inmates who continually deny wrongdoing following convictions. "I look at my prisoners all the time and they say, 'I'm not guilty, I'm not guilty,'" he said. "I always said that if I did something, I'd be honest enough and man enough to own up to it and say I am guilty." He added that his certification wouldn't be affected by the conviction.

His driver's license was revoked for nine months with a restoration option upon completion of a 90-day impaired driver intervention program. Robinson said he finished his last alcohol education class on Thursday, April 30.

The Carroll County commissioners have remained quiet about the incident, refusing to comment Wednesday on whether Robinson was still being paid.

"Yes, there is a Right-to-Know law, but there is a law that protects individuals from crimination," said Chairman David Sorensen, responding to public inquiries. "Therefore, we can't talk about this particular item."

The commissioners first acknowledged Robinson's absence on April 29 in response to questions from Ossipee resident and former state representative David Babson, who noted that Robinson had not delivered the jail's weekly report in months and asked whether he was still on the county payroll. Captain Jason Johnson—who is currently supervising the jail—has been reporting to the commissioners instead. With Johnson away that week for training, a new face, Mike Fowler, delivered weekly jail statistics instead of Robinson.

"He's on leave," responded Sorensen.

"He's away… It's a personnel matter, so I can't get into it," said Robin Reade, Carroll County human resources manager.

Robinson's contract, initially authorized by the commission on Jan. 26, 2005, and made public Wednesday, signed him on for a $55,000 a year part-time job. It was amended on March 21, 2007, to bump him up to working "at least 60 hours in any two weeks." It states, "Should either party wish to terminate this agreement, a ninety- (90) day notice is required." The commissioners have sole responsibility for the hiring or termination of county employees.

The contract expires on Dec. 31, when Robinson plans to retire.

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