East Millinocket public works director fired for allegedly misappropriating town funds, property

Posted March 21, 2012, at 1:41 p.m.
Last modified March 21, 2012, at 7:15 p.m.

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — The Board of Selectmen effectively reaffirmed on Wednesday its decision to fire the town’s public works director after he was accused of misappropriating town funds and taking six granite curbstones and two plows from the department.

Daniel Violette, the town’s public works director since 2005, was fired after receiving a letter dated March 12 that outlined the accusations against him, town Administrative Assistant Shirley Tapley said.

“We have considered your long employment history with the town, but your conduct in misappropriating funds and property, your disregard for our policies and procedures, your attempts to cover up what you did and your betrayal of the trust we have placed in you as a department head leave us no alternative but to terminate your employment with the town immediately,” the termination letter to Violette states.

It was unclear from the letter whether Violette had ever violated any town codes of conduct or faced any kind of disciplinary action before his firing. He worked for the town for 25 years.

The letter was signed by the five members of the Board of Selectmen. Selectmen met with the town’s attorney, Dean Beaupain, in executive session for about an hour Wednesday afternoon to discuss the matter.

They took no action upon emerging from the closed-door session and declined to comment afterwards. There was no public discussion of Violette’s firing.

Violette did not return messages left at his home on Tuesday and Wednesday morning and did not attend the meeting. His brother, attorney Richard Violette Jr., who runs his own law firm in Bangor, and two other family members declined to comment after the meeting.

According to the letter, which Tapley provided, Daniel Violette ordered knives for his workers in December 2011, charged the town for them, told the workers they were personal Christmas gifts from Violette and had the supplier list them on an invoice to the town as hammers. He eventually admitted the misconduct, the letter states.

Violette is also accused of violating town procedures by buying a large number of tools for his department, according to the letter. The violation occurred in September 2010, the letter states, when Violette purchased all the tools at once but had the vendor list the purchases on separate invoices to keep the purchases from individually exceeding $200.

Violette also admitted to taking the curbstones and the two used plows, one of which he discarded, according to the letter.

Police Chief Garold Cramp said his officers have not yet been asked to investigate the allegations against Violette and did not have any part in town officials’ investigation.

“So far everything is between the Board [of Selectmen] and him,” Cramp said Wednesday, calling the matter an administrative personnel issue.

Whether police should investigate is the board’s decision, Cramp said. They could elect to handle the matter themselves, have police investigate it, or bring in another agency, he said.

“Sometimes you have an impartial person do it. Sometimes you bring in an outsider,” Cramp said. “Obviously we are capable of doing it.”

Follow BDN reporter Nick Sambides Jr. on Twitter at @NickSam2BDN.

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