• State employee cleared of misconduct
     | June 07,2014

    MONTPELIER — A state worker charged with misconduct after pointing out what he saw as waste, poor management and corruption in the Vocal Rehabilitation division has been cleared of wrongdoing.

    John Howe sued in April saying he was subjected to administrative leave and moved to a smaller office after he testified before legislators about the use of workers from a private firm to do work similar to his, for less money.

    Howe said he welcomed the Department of Human Resources decision. However, he objected to its decision to reject his complaint of retaliation.

    Kate Duffy, human resources commissioner, said Howe’s allowing non-authorized personnel to sign his name to dispense state funds failed to justify disciplinary action because of a failure to enforce policy.

    Duffy said she “confirmed Howe’s assertion that his practice was longstanding and that other employees similarly delegated their authority to non-authorized personnel.”

    Howe is a trustee with the Vermont State Employees Association, which had rallied its members in an anti-retaliation campaign.

    “Needless to say, VSEA is pleased that this unwarranted DHR investigation has finally concluded, and that John’s name has been cleared and he can now move forward to continue to provide some of the best service possible to Vermonters in need,” said the executive director of the union, Mark Mitchell.

    Mitchell said the union was “disappointed — but not surprised — that DHR found Howe was not retaliated against by management.”

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