Appeal of AlexanderAnnotate this Case
In consolidated appeals from a decision of the New Hampshire Personnel Appeals Board (board), Petitioner Timothy Alexander appealed the Board's affirmance of his dismissal from employment with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the State appealed the board's reinstatement of William Harris to his employment with HHS. In 2009, Alexander and Harris were involved in the restraint of a resident at the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC). Alexander was employed as a Youth Counselor III and Harris was a full-time probationary employee, Youth Counselor I (Trainee). A Center report noted that the resident responded rudely when questioned whether the had permission to sit somewhere other than his assigned table. When told to move, the resident responded "disrespectfully," an altercation ensued. An investigation of the incident resulted in Alexander and Harris losing their jobs for using "excessive force" against the resident. Alexander and Harris appealed their dismissals to the Board. Alexander argued that: (1) the board unlawfully upheld his dismissal on a different factual basis from that stated in his termination letter; (2) the facts found by the board do not warrant termination; (3) he should be reinstated because SYSC failed to comply with the personnel rules; and (4) he is at least entitled to a new hearing because the board violated several statutes and, along with SYSC, violated his rights to due process. The Supreme Court did not "share Alexander's interpretation of the Board's decision." The Court affirmed Alexander's dismissal. As to Harris, the Court concluded the Board should not have "interfered" with HHS's exercise of discretion in terminating Harris's employment. The Court reversed the Board's decision as to Harris.