Wednesday July 10, 2013

Labor board: State workers don’t get double pay

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Vermont Labor Relations Board has denied 63 state workers who wanted double pay for working while displaced from their offices following Tropical Storm Irene.

Flooding from the storm nearly two years ago closed the state complex in Waterbury and the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Rutland. Employees were forced to work from home or in other makeshift locations.

The employees argued their contract entitled them to double pay, but in a decision issued Monday, the state Labor Board disagreed, and it made clear it wished the grievance had never been filed by the Vermont State Employees Association.

"(I)t would have been better for productive labor relations if the parties were able to balance respective interests and informally reach an understanding to resolve this grievance," the board concluded.

"State managers and employees represented by VSEA made many substantial contributions to meet the needs of the public," following Irene, the board said. "It is unfortunate that the dispute involving pay due employees in this matter has festered and has adversely affected the focus on these laudable contributions."

The VSEA said in a statement it was disappointed in the ruling, arguing that it appeared to run counter to the employees’ union contract. Union spokesman Doug Gibson said Tuesday he had received no word on whether the union would file an appeal with the Vermont Supreme Court.

The Vermont State Employees Association, which represents state workers, issued a statement expressing disappointment. Spokesman Doug Gibson said Tuesday that the union hasn’t decided whether to appeal the decision to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Vt. school officials cited; atty ‘perplexed’

DANVILLE (AP) -- The superintendent and the principal of Danville High School have been cited on charges of failing to report child abuse and neglect of duty by a public officer, Vermont State Police say.

The Vermont Department of Children and Families learned on May 8 about a student who was reported to have been inappropriately touched two times by a Danville school teacher on April 29, police say.

Police said Monday the alleged abuse was reported to Principal Noah Noyes, who then told Superintendent Martha Tucker, but neither school official reported it to the state agency within 24 hours as required by law. The agency learned about the allegations through the students’ parents and called Vermont State Police, authorities said.

Police are investigating the abuse allegation.

On Tuesday, Tucker’s lawyer said the charge is meritless and the superintendent will fight it. The allegation of misconduct by a teacher was immediately investigated by the school and found to be unsubstantiated, attorney Pietro Lynn said. His client had no reasonable basis to make a report, he said.

"The decision to charge her criminally for failure to report child abuse by a school employee where the state has not even charged that employee with child abuse is perplexing," Lynn said.

Noah did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.