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December 27. 2012 10:24PM

Salem town manager steps down from LGC board

SALEM - Salem Town Manager Keith Hickey has stepped down from his post on the Local Government Center's board of directors, officials confirmed.

Hickey's resignation was made official Dec. 14, according to LGC Board Chairman Tom Enright.

"We're grateful for his many years of volunteerism during which he served in several roles, including the vice chairman," Enright said. "I will greatly miss Keith's counsel and long loyalty to LGC, and we wish him well as he continues his career in public services to local government."

Earlier this month, the LGC, which offers health and retirement coverage plans for state and municipal workers, was found by the state Bureau of Securities Regulations to be in violation of various state laws following the improper collection of funds and retention of surplus funds that should have been returned to participating communities. Salem was one of many Granite State communities to join forces with the state in ordering the LGC to return a combined $52 million to former members.

During the Dec. 12 Salem Board of Selectmen meeting, the board agreed to join forces with the communities of Peterborough and Durham in reaching out to the state Attorney General's Office in attempts to obtain and distribute those surplus funds to current and past members.

"I think our doing things together might carry more weight," Selectman Stephen Campbell said at the meeting.

Salem no longer uses the LGC to provide coverage for its employees. In August 2011, the town severed its ties with the organization.

Hickey was hired as the Salem town manager in March 2011. Although some perceived it as a conflict of interest at the time of his hire, others saw Hickey's affiliation with the LGC as an asset.

In the summer of 2011, the state Bureau of Securities Regulations released a 30-page report stating that excessive reserves were being maintained in LGC's insurance programs, funds used to create LGC's workers' compensation programs, among other things.

Later that year, Salem switched its coverage providers following a lengthy bidding process. Hickey said other companies have proved to be more cost-effective for employees and the town alike.

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April Guilmet may be reached at AGuilmet@newstote.com.


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