Lawsuit coming over Town Clerk’s alleged behavior
On the day Peterborough Town Clerk Linda Guyette was being feted by WMUR, a town house employee alerted officials a whistleblower’s lawsuit is coming over Guyette’s alleged abusive behavior.
Guyette is accused of creating a hostile work environment inside her office and throughout the town house. One of the alleged targets of Guyette’s wrath had her attorney Chuck Douglas, of Concord law firm Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, send a notice to Town Administrator Rodney Bartlett on Tuesday that she would be bringing a whistleblower complaint against the town.
NH Reporter reached out to the employee, but is not naming her at this time. She did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Douglas, nor did Bartlett.
The town hired the Leddy Group to investigate numerous complaints against Guyette this summer after Bartlett found she had created a hostile work environment. The town paid the Leddy Group $3,500 for the report, and reportedly told Guyette the report would not be released if she resigned.
In what seems to be a bit of damage -control, Guyette allowed herself to be interviewed by WMUR’s Ray Brewer about her recent donation of blood plasma to help find a COVID-19 cure, which she survived in June. What Brewer’s report leaves out is that one major accusation against Guyette is that she exposed people to the potentially deadly virus after she tested positive over the summer, and that she refused to wear a face mask while at work. Brewer did not respond after being alerted about NH Reporter’s work.
Select Board Chair Tyler Ward disclosed the existence of the report at the board’s September meeting, after it was first reported on by NH Reporter. The board did not discuss the matter Tuesday night.
Guyette showed up during a select board meeting without telling most of the people present about her recent positive test result, according to the report.
“She spent several minutes in the meeting room with people who were unaware of her positive test for COVID-19,” the report states. “At this time, Ms. Guyette should have been in self-isolation as required by DHHS.”
Guyette was required to stay away from town hall to quarantine and town officials struggled to get her to take safety measures once she returned, according to the report the town contracted with the Leddy Group.
“Admin, don’t fuck with me. You don’t want to get on my bad side,” Guyette is alleged to have said amid the roiling situation.
At one point this summer, Guyette’s angry outbursts were reported to police as a potential violent threat against Bartlett, though Police Chief Scott Guinard told NH Reporter the matter did not require a criminal investigation.
According to the Leddy Group report, Guyette regularly used profanity in front of staff and residents while on duty. She was known to have an uncontrollable temper, and employees in the town hall report her behavior as frequently unsettling and unprofessional, according to the report. One employee told the Leddy Group investigator that they are now medication for anxiety because of their interactions with Guyette.
Guyette is alleged to have forced people who needed things like dog licenses or other documents from her office to come in person instead of mailing the documents out, the report states. One witness told the investigator that they heard a resident on Guyette’s speaker phone “begging” to have her dog license mailed because the resident has health concerns about being exposed to COVID-19. Guyette refused to accommodate this resident, the report states.
Guyette also refused to allow a worker in her office to move her desk, and she put up a partition that does not create a safe divide for members of the public and staff, according to the report. She is also alleged to refuse to wear her mask while at work, the report states.