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Kevin Coyle

Jun 1, 2015 9:14 PM

Rockingham County Commissioner: 'Law is an ass' after $12,000 award for corrections officer


BRENTWOOD - Rockingham County Commissioner Kevin Coyle says the "law is an ass" after the Department of Labor granted a recently retired corrections officer $12,000 in punitive damages because his back pay was four days late.

"If an employer pays late, maybe then they should be given some kind of fine, but $12,000?" Coyle said. "That's $12,000 of taxpayer money."

The decision was made after Harold "Butch" Whitehouse complained about the county. He was owed approximately $24,000 for unused time and longevity pay when he retired on April 1. Coyle said Whitehouse was given all of his money the next pay date, as is often the practice in private business, but Whitehouse went after the county, and won.

State law says that employers must give people all of their back pay within 72-hours, if the employee gives the company or organization proper notice. Since Whitehouse did, the Department of Labor found the law was violated.

"There was no willful disregard in not wanting to pay him," Coyle said. "This Department of Labor law is idiotic."

Coyle said he suspects Whitehouse has a vendetta against the finance department of the county for some reason. He said he voted to appeal the decision, but the two other commissioners voted against it, so Whitehouse will not be challenged on his actions.

"It's certainly not fair to the taxpayer," Coyle said Monday afternoon.

Follow Kimberley Haas on Twitter @KHaasNH1.


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