June 21, 2018
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East Millinocket board upholds firing of public works director

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine ― The Board of Selectmen once again rejected giving fired Public Works Department Director Daniel Violette his job back, Chairman Clint Linscott said Wednesday.

Selectmen voted 5-0 during a continuation of Violette’s grievance hearing last Thursday to reaffirm their earlier decision to terminate his employment, Linscott said. The board had met the previous Tuesday to hear from Violette and his attorney, his brother Richard Violette, on the matter.

Selectmen have met several times to discuss the town’s issues with Violette. In one of the most recent meetings, on April 2, the board voted 5-0 against a motion to rehire Violette and place him on administrative leave pending the outcome of his grievance. With that, his attorney handed selectmen a letter saying he intended to sue the town for $1 million.

A lawsuit was filed on April 17 in Penobscot County Superior Court, a court clerk has said. Richard Violette has not returned messages left at his office since the matter began.

The board met June 12 to hear Violette’s grievance in recognition of the vagueness of town regulations regarding termination procedures and in acknowledgement of a statement Richard Violette provided selectmen that said the town violated state law by releasing a letter to the news media detailing its case for firing his brother before Daniel Violette had a chance to file a grievance.

Daniel Violette, who has declined to comment on the matter since it began, was fired in mid-March after he was accused of misappropriating town funds and taking six granite curbstones and two plows from the department.

The termination set off accusations of lying and misrepresenting facts on both sides.

Richard Violette has said the alleged misappropriation was nothing more than his brother ill-advisedly misrepresenting a purchase on an invoice. He said that this was at best a lapse in judgment worthy of a written reprimand, not termination.

Linscott said that Daniel Violette, a town employee for 25 years, had repeatedly lied to cover up his actions.

On Wednesday, Linscott said he didn’t expect any town action on the termination except in response to the lawsuit or any other court action filed by Violette.

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