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My Turn: Maura Carroll is out, but LGC still doesn’t get it

It was interesting to read about Maura Carroll’s departure from the Local Government Center (“LGC chief pushed out by board,” Monitor front page, Feb. 2). Once again members of the LGC’s board of directors believes that by putting a new face in front of an old problem, they can magically make it disappear.

The LGC board continues to defy the final order from Donald Mitchell, the hearing officer who ruled on the complaint from the Bureau of Securities Regulations. One of the rulings states that there must be separate boards governing the LGC, its health trust and its workers’ compensation trust. So what does the LGC board do? It creates separate boards for the health and workers’ comp trusts and fills them with members from the LGC board. And its newly revised bylaws allows for this type of subterfuge.

Since the hearing officer ruled against the LGC and it appears less than certain that the New Hampshire Supreme Court will rule in its favor, the LGC has been trying to change the laws that govern risk management pools. One of the rule changes it has proposed is to change the oversight of risk pools from the secretary of state’s office to the Department of Insurance. Yet the rules governing risk pools (RSA 5-B) clearly state that risk management pools are not insurance companies. In fact, the original rules for risk pools were written by John Andrews, the executive director of the LGC who preceded Carroll.

So now the LGC hires George Bald, the former head of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development to replace Carroll. It’s reported that he is hired because of his good relationship with the Legislature. So the LGC board still feels it can solve all of its problems not by complying with the hearing officer’s final order but by changing the rules it wrote.

And there’s more. There are a number of towns suing the LGC because of bylaws that prevent them from receiving surplus payments after they left the health trust. Here’s what’s interesting: A number of those towns’ representatives were on the LGC board. So when they were on the LGC board, did they forget that they were representing their towns or did they put the welfare of the LGC above all else? It certainly appears that the LGC’s former board members were loyal to the LGC even at the expense to their communities.

We can talk about ethics and how one individual cannot serve two masters. We can talk about the LGC losing focus because of competition and revenge. And we can talk about the LGC forgetting that its mission is to provide services for municipalities as a nonprofit entity.

But the bottom line is that the LGC still believes it has done nothing wrong. Those tire marks on Carroll’s torso are a reminder to all that the LGC would rather throw a 25-year employee under the bus than comply with the law. Since that’s the case, what chance do the members or former members of one of the LGC’s trusts have of being treated fairly under the laws and rules that govern risk pools?

Perhaps the Bureau of Securities Regulations should place the LGC under receivership, since nothing else has convinced it to comply with the law.

(Allan Herschlag lives in Concord.)

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