Yesterday, I commented on the ongoing drama between the state and the former DOT commissioner, who’s departure late last month sparked questions from reporters about the circumstances of his resignation.
This morning, I spoke to Richard Hayber, the attorney for the outgoing DOT commissioner about the matter. He provided me with a copy of a press release which is attached. (Readers of this blog may recall that Attorney Hayber also publishes the Connecticut Employee Rights Blog.)
In speaking with Attorney Hayber, he decried the state’s release of the stipulated agreement between his client and the state saying that his client was told that the agreement would never see the light of day. He also pointed out that he was having a difficult time seeing how the agreement could be released under the state’s FOI laws.
Under Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-214a, separation agreements that contain a confidentiality clause can be released if if there is "alleged or substantiated sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation or sexual assault by such employee or contractor." But as Attorney Hayber points out, there is no such confidentiality provision nor is there any reference in the agreement to alleged sexual harassment. As such, he argued, his client may have a claim that the agreement was improperly released, particularly because personnel files are generally exempt from disclosures.
But Attorney Hayber also lamented the process in which the agreement was signed. He indicated that his client strongly denies any wrongdoing and noted that his client has never been told the identity of the person raising the so-called issues or the conduct claimed. "He’s never been told the answers when, where, who, what questions."
He also said that his client was asked to come to the resignation/dismissal meeting alone without being provided a reason for such meeting ahead of time (which I note, isn’t that uncommon) and was told that he had to sign a stipulated agreement on the spot indicating he resigned, or he would be involuntarily dismissed.
Attorney Hayber also said that even the agreement itself may be unconstitutional and a violation of his client’s First Amendment rights because it imposes limits on what his client has say about the governor, or any state employee even if such criticisms are based in truth.
At the end, he stated that his client is exploring his "legal options." Something tells me we have not heard the last of this matter.
There will be more about this case on the Face the State program on Channel 3 this Sunday at 11 a.m.