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Reardon's resignation: Why are we still paying her?
It is a story full of sensation and irony. New Hampshire Employment Security Commissioner Tara Reardon is accused of ordering a subordinate to lay off Reardon’s daughter, who was about to leave her summer internship to return to school, so the daughter could collect unemployment benefits. Reardon resigned before Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting — effective at the end of August. Until then she keeps getting paid.
The allegation is serious. If Reardon did what an employee says she did, then she is guilty of unethical behavior that her agency fines employers for doing. It might even be illegal, depending on how directly involved Reardon was.
Because Reardon is in charge of the agency that polices that exact sort of behavior, and that the complaint made it all the way to a grand jury and criminal charges could be forthcoming, it is perplexing that the governor and council agreed to let Reardon stay on the payroll for another seven weeks. It is doubly perplexing given what she is accused of doing: scheming to have her daughter paid after she left her job.
Reardon is on paid leave until her resignation takes effect. That means the taxpayers are sending her checks although she is not doing her job — and she is not doing it because of a very serious ethical allegation. If she were just stepping aside briefly until the investigation is completed, there might be good reason to keep paying her. But she has resigned. Regardless of whether she is cleared, she is no longer running the department. So why are we still paying her?
The governor and council fell down on the job here. They have been aware of this issue all year. They should have insisted on a resignation effective immediately.
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