Restitution wanted from ex-DPW director
With its former Public Works Director scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 3 after being convicted for stealing town equipment, the town of Hooksett is seeking restitution for damages in the case.
Dale Hemeon, who was fired as Public Works director in 2011 after 21 years as a town employee, was convicted in November on 11 felony counts of theft. The incidents on which Hemeon was tried involved the scrapping of trucks and a crane owned by the town between April 10, 2009, and Aug. 26, 2010, and the theft of equipment for his own use, including chainsaws, leaf blowers, two generators, a plow and a host of other equipment on March 23, 2011.
In a special meeting Dec. 19, the Hooksett Town Council voted to seek restitution in the case “to such extent as can be documented.” The motion directed the town administrator to draft and send a letter to the court with the request.
The restitution the town is seeking is limited to value of the items Hemeon was convicted of stealing. When the items were confiscated, their combined value was estimated by the Sheriff’s Department to be “just a little over $30,000,” according to Shankle. The town has attempted to calculate the depreciation of the equipment since the items were confiscated in April of 2011, estimating a $10,000 loss in value.
Other items, such as scrapped vehicles, are more difficult to track. County Attorney Wayne Coull has attempted to account for some of this money through scrap yard financial records as available.
“We’re doing the best we can with the limited information we have to recoup as much as the taxpayer’s money as we can,” said Shankle.
The town is also looking forward, attempting to set up safeguards to prevent something like this from happening again.
“We’ve changed all of those processes, so nobody can dispose of anything, not a stapler, without coming to me,” said Shankle. “People used to just say ‘Well, I threw that away.’ Going forward, that should never happen again.”
Hemeon is scheduled to be sentenced at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3, at Merrimack County Superior Court. The proceeding will be open to the public.
Assistant County Attorney Wayne Coull has said that if Hooksett citizens or officials wish to speak at the hearing, have questions, or would like to offer an opinion, they should contact him at 228-0529.
The sentence had previously been delayed after a pre-sentence investigation, a kind of background check for extenuating circumstances or past criminality to aid in sentencing, had been ordered on Hemeon.