Sangerville, Guilford appeal labor fines

Posted March 01, 2010, at 8:12 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:04 p.m.

The neighboring towns of Sangerville and Guilford have appealed fines imposed on them by the Bureau of Labor Standards for workplace violations found earlier this year during inspections.

Sangerville Town Manager Joe Clark said his town was fined $3,500 for citations given in the areas of training in the fire, recreation and public works departments. For example, a citation was given because the recreation director had not had blood-borne pathogen training.

“With the rules and regulations changing daily, it’s hard for the small communities to comply with the changes on a limited, bare-bones budget,” Clark said Monday.

Guilford Town Manager Tom Goulette said his town initially faced $4,200 in violations, which since has been reduced to $1,400. His town’s citations also related to record keeping and training.

Both Goulette and Clark said that all the violations have been addressed and corrected. Had they not been corrected, the towns could have faced additional penalties of not more than $1,000 per violation, for each day the violation continued.

In the belief that the appeal for waivers of the penalties had gone as far as it could, the Sangerville Board of Selectmen voted last week to write a check for $3,500 to the state department to close the matter.

Goulette said the penalties for the citations in Guilford were waived with the exception of two. He is continuing to appeal the remaining $1,400 owed.

“This is going to keep us on our toes,” Goulette said of the inspection. “It’s a good thing because if it prevents one serious injury, it will certainly be worth it.”

Goulette said what upset him the most was the state inspector’s approach to what he planned to do. He said the inspector walked into Goulette’s office and said he was in town to see how many violations he could find. Instead, Goulette said, the inspector should have said he was in Guilford to help town officials find a way to save lives and property. Goulette said he passed those same comments on to the inspector’s supervisors.

“I just didn’t like that approach,” he said.

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