Report: Clerk made threat, exposed people to COVID-19
PETERBOROUGH — Town Clerk Linda Guyette allegedly made a violent threat against Town Administrator Rodney Bartlett, prompting police action, according to the report released this week by town officials.
Tensions flared this summer after Guyette tested positive for COVID-19, and showed up during a select board meeting without telling most of the people present about her test. 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.
NHReporter first reported last week that Guyette had been investigated for allegedly creating a hostile work environment inside Our Town’s town hall. Bartlett, Guyette, and other town officials refused to discuss the investigation last week. After NHReporter published its story, Bartlett confirmed the investigation during a select board meeting on Wednesday, and said the full report will be discussed in public at an upcoming meeting.
Guyette’s attorney, Anne Rice, did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday. Guyette is an elected official paid a little more than $69,000 a year. As an elected official she is not under the authority of Bartlett, who is appointed by the select board, but she does report to the town administrator.
The town hired the Leddy Group to investigate multiple accusations of unprofessional and hostile actions by Guyette, paying more than $3,500 for the 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’s mother tested positive for COVID-19 on June 7, and Guyette disclosed this to Bartlett, according to the report. The building was then cleaned and disinfected on June 8, and Guyette then attended a select board meeting on June 9, the report states.
“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.”
On June 12, Bartlett informed Guyette through an email to follow the CDC guidelines before returning to work with the public. It was during her time away from the job that she allegedly made the threat against Bartlett, according to the report.
“On June 17, (Police ) Chief (Scott) Guinard notified the Town Administrator that a DHHS caseworker reported to her supervisor that Ms. Guyette made an implied threat of violence against the Town Administrator,” the report states.
Guinard did not respond to a request for comment. The Leddy Group report states that the matter was investigated by Peterborough police.
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.
The report found that many residents did not make written complaints about their interactions with Guyette. Guyette asked the Leddy Group investigator to speak with two town employees in particular. One said that Guyette is popular with people in town. The other witness Guyette wanted the Leddy Group to interview on her behalf expressed reservations, according to the report.
“I question Linda’s integrity and professionalism based on what I’ve seen and heard,” this person said according to the report.
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