Ethics Complaint Filed by Michael Drouin Dismissed

July 12, 2019

 

 

by Doug Robinson

It took less than eight minutes for the Hudson Ethics Committee, during the July 8 meeting, to dismiss the ethics complaint filed by Michael Drouin.

Drouin’s position as a member of the Hudson Conservation Commission was recently terminated by the Hudson Board of Selectmen and he took his complaint about that termination to the Hudson Board of Ethics.

The public meeting took place after the board met with the town attorney during their “attorney-client,” non-public session.

“We are back in the room, and we are going to allow Mr. Drouin to speak in regards to his complaint that he has filed with the Code of Ethics Committee” said Ethics Chairman Jared Stevens.

Hudson Town Government’s RSA 31:39A states, “The proper operation of democratic government requires that public officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people; that government decisions and policy be made through the proper channels of the governmental structure; that public office not be used for personal gain; and that the public have confidence in the integrity of its government.  In recognition of these goals, a Code of Ethics for all town officials and employees is adopted in accordance with RSA 31:39A under state law.”

The purpose of the Ethics Committee (RSA 53-2) is “to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all officials and employees by setting forth those acts or actions that are incompatible with the best interests of the town and by directing disclosure by such officials and employees of private financial or other interests in matters affecting the town.”

Drouin pleaded his case by stating, “I feel that I was wrongly removed from the Conservation Commission.  They removed me, ahh, they did not give a reason; I guess it was a default reason; of ahh, ahh, contacting someone, ahh, to claim that I did not have, ahh, you know, done what they say that I was doing, and so, um, I feel they unfairly removed me.  They, ahh, so, they kinda accused me of something hearsay.  Their member, Selectman Martin, said ‘hearsay and it could not be held up in a court.’  I challenge it.”

Continuing, Drouin said, “After two speaking periods I was given, they accused me of not being forthcoming and removed me for that.  They did not give me a chance to defend myself.”

Drouin defended himself saying that “The Selectmen have been targeting myself and other members of the Conservation Commission that do not fall in line.  I am just trying to do my best.”

Chairman Stevens said that he and his fellow board members had watched the tape from the Selectmen’s meeting.  He also stated that he had been taking notes which stated Drouin felt he had been “unfairly removed, accused of hearsay, not being forthcoming, and denied all applications to various boards.”

Stevens then stated, “Where is the violation of the Code of Ethics?  We are not an appeals board.  The Board of Selectmen are voted in by the town of Hudson and they get to make those decisions.  The further outcomes after that would be to go to Superior Court for us.  We are not a board for the town every time they are unhappy with a ruling of the chairman or the members of the Board of Selectmen to come before this board, unless there is a violation of the Code of Ethics. This board does not have the authority to reinstate you.  Is that what you are asking?”  Drouin replied, “Yes.”

Stevens further stated, “This board does not have the jurisdiction to do that.  This board looks for ethical violations.  If somebody was looking to make a profit by removing you from the board, then we could hear your complaint.  What you have submitted is not touching on any of that.  It is your opinion.”

The Ethics board was unanimous with Chairman Stevens that there was “no grounds for a violation” of the Hudson Code of Ethics.