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Ex-LGC head's severance being worked out

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 12. 2013 9:54PM

CONCORD - Former Local Government Center Executive Director Maura Carroll has yet to begin receiving severance payments that, according to her contract, could entitle her to her $189,200 annual salary.

Thomas Enright, chairman of the LGC board of directors, said Carroll and the board are negotiating a severance package. According to Carroll's contract, she is entitled to receive one year's salary conditioned upon "the employee's execution of a full release of the employer in form satisfactory to the employer prior to any severance payment."

He said Carroll hasn't signed that release.

"The severance under the contract isn't an automatic," Enright said. "I'm not trying to suggest there won't be (a severance). I don't know at this moment what it's going to look like because there's an ongoing conversation about it."

Carroll could not be reached Tuesday night for comment.

"She has received her final paycheck for time she has worked," he said. "There is no severance pay at the moment."

Carroll's contract, as well as that of interim Executive Director George Bald, were released by the LGC. Bald will receive $90,000 to head the organization for six months, according to his contract.

Enright said reports that Carroll had been fired were not true.

"To me, firing anticipates some kind of malfeasance or malperformance," he said. "That was simply not the case here. My belief is that she was not fired. It was a mutual conversation and both sides came to the same agreement."

The LGC, based in Concord, provides communities, counties, quasi-government organizations and schools with health insurance, liability insurance, legal support and legislative advocacy. About 105,000 employees are provided health care by the organization's health care arm, LGC HealthTrust, according to its website.

Carroll assumed the director's role in 2009, and her tenure saw tumult in the organization, as it was dogged by continued criticism by towns and, most notably, the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, for its practice of retaining surpluses from its self-funded risk pools for liability claims and health care coverage for municipalities and other government agencies such as school districts, housing authorities and water districts.

After a hearing about the surpluses, the New Hampshire State Department in August ordered the LGC to repay more than $50 million to its members. The LGC has appealed the order to the state Supreme Court.

Carroll's contract was signed in June 2012, shortly after the State Department hearings were conducted.

David Lang, president of the firefighters association, led a decade-long push to force LGC to publicly disclose how it was spending money collected from its risk pool.

Lang said Tuesday night that he was particularly concerned about portions of Carroll's and Bald's contracts that detail secrecy and compel the leaders, upon the end of their employment, to "destroy to the employer's satisfaction, all employer property in (their) possession, including without limitation, all originals and all copies in any form of materials relating to the scope of the employer's business or concerning any of the employer's dealings or affairs."

"We think that this points out a systemic problem with the LGC Board of Directors," Lang said. "We think that smacks in the face of the Right to Know law."

He said he wondered why the LGC "would go to such lengths to prevent (Carroll and Bald) from being able to talk publicly. We find this very problematic."

Lang said city managers and town managers could not be bound by such language, primarily because it conflicts directly with a portion of the state Right to Know law, RSA 91-a:9, which says: "A person is guilty of a misdemeanor who knowingly destroys any information with the purpose to prevent such information from being inspected or disclosed in response to a request under this chapter."

The state Supreme Court ruled three years ago that the taxpayer-funded organization is a public agency covered by the state's Right-to-Know law.

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