Hearing on Finance Director Withdrawn

Former Londonderry Finance Director Sue Hickey has withdrawn her request for a public hearing, which had been scheduled as an agenda item for the Town Council’s Dec. 1 meeting.

“We’ve never had one before. It was really uncharted territory for us,” Town Manager Kevin Smith said when asked what the public hearing would have entailed. “She had requested the public hearing. I assume what would have happened is the Chairman would have opened the hearing and she would have had the opportunity to speak with the Council.”

When asked if the public would have had a chance to weigh in, Smith said he wasn’t sure because as he said, the hearing was unprecedented.

Section 4.7 of the Town Charter, Appointment of Department Heads; Suspension; Appeal, was cited on the agenda as grounds for the public hearing.

That section of the Charter states, “The Manager shall have the power to appoint and remove, subject to the provisions of this Charter, all town department heads. Such appointments shall be on merit and fitness alone and with confirmation of the Council. The Manager, for just cause, may suspend or dismiss department heads or take other appropriate disciplinary action. Said suspension, dismissal or other disciplinary action shall be effected only upon the Manager’s presentation to the department head of a written specification of the reasons therefore at least ten days before said action is taken.”

Further, “The said department head involved may, within five days, demand a hearing before the Council, in which event the department head shall not be removed until such hearing has been held. The Manager may, however, suspend said department head from duty during said period, with or without pay. Such hearing shall be either private or public, as allowed under State Law, at the aggrieved party’s request. The Council, by a vote of four members may override the Manager’s decision.”

Only three Councilors were present for the Dec. 1 meeting. Chairman Tom Dolan and Councilor Joe Green were not present.

The Council advised members of the public to direct any questions regarding Hickey’s decision to withdraw her request for a public hearing to Town Attorney Mike Ramsdell.

“Sue Hickey withdrew her request for a public hearing scheduled for last night and we are now working on the matter,” Ramsdell said in response to a Londonderry Times inquiry.

Town employees were informed Hickey was no longer employed with the Town of Londonderry in a Nov. 6 email to town staff. Londonderry’s official Town website continued to list her as Director of Finance & Administration as of press time Tuesday, Dec. 2.

The responses to three separate RSA 91-A Right to Know requests for information regarding Hickey’s termination have been that no public information related to the ongoing personnel matter is available.

A request for Hickey’s last two pay periods was also denied, the reason cited as the information is related to a personnel matter, according to Ramsdell.

Hickey served as Londonderry’s Finance Director starting Jan. 8 2001. Her annual base salary as of July 1, 2014 was $116,194.

Smith said last week he could not confirm whether Hickey was fired or if she resigned her position with the Town’s Finance Department.

“I would expect we will have something that could be disclosed within the next couple of days,” Ramsdell said on Dec. 2.

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