High Stakes Whack-A-Mole

Once again it was the action of taxpayer activists from all over the country that contributed to exposing former Dover, NH City Manger Paul “Leecher” Beecher to the Hingham, Ma. news outlets and Board of Selectmen BEFORE the vote to hire a new Town Manger, of which Beecher was one of three finalists. It is reported that this position paid over $200,000.00.

Beecher History in Kansas City, Mo.

 

From a headline in the Kansas City (Missouri) Star newspaper on Aug. 21, 1991: "City Hall official resigns Purchase of lights for Kemper Arena cost Paul Beecher his job." Staff Writer James C. Fitzpatrick's lead sentence read, "Assistant Kansas City Manager Paul Beecher resigned Tuesday for buying a $948,000 lighting system for Kemper Arena without City Council approval."

 

Beecher History in Dover, NH.

During Paul Beecher’s final days as Dover, NH City Manager, he signed a new contract with Dover’s Police Chief for $3,189,310.27. Included in this 10-year contract was an acceleration of paid vacation, which reached 34 weeks in the final year of the contract. During this final year, his salary and benefits would cost the taxpayers of the City of Dover $473,229.92. Being Beecher was head of The NH Municipal Association he knew full well an employee’s pension is based upon their last three highest salary years before retirement. Together with health insurance benefits for life, this contract would cost this community millions and millions of dollars, during and well after his contract expires. The NH retirement system is rife with deals like this and is one reason the system is so unstable.

Beecher History in Kingman, Az.

The headline in the Kingman (Arizona)Daily Miner on Aug. 8, 2007, read, "Another day, another lawsuit: Former economic director sues for unpaid wages; Council unaware of Beecher-signed severance." Staff Writer Nicholas Wilbur, Beecher signed a contract for severance pay a week after City Council cut funding to the economic development director's department and a week before Council voted on leaving money in the next year's budget for a severance for that director. When Council voted against leaving in the money, the members were unaware that a contract already existed, and when the director didn't receive his check on July 1, the end of the fiscal year and first day of his unemployment, he filed a claim against the city for unpaid wages.

"When we voted not to give him the severance, we didn't know about the agreement," said Councilman Kerry Deering, who cast one of the nay votes. "He didn't volunteer that information at the meeting, and the city manager didn't (either)."
The day the article published, Mayor Les Byram called a special meeting to re-evaluate Beecher, his second review in as many months. After 50 minutes of deliberation in executive session Friday, Council reconvened the public meeting and voted unanimously to fire Beecher, effective immediately.

 

From The Kingman Minor, August 12, 2007. “The latest issue, made public Wednesday, was a claim brought against the city by former Economic Development Director Jeff Weir (A Beecher created position) regarding a severance agreement signed by Beecher without Council's knowledge.
This may have been the straw that broke the camel's back, as the special meeting was called immediately after Council was informed of the claim.
According to Weir's attorney, Weir and Beecher had signed a severance agreement about a week after Council voted in May to cut Weir's position and all funding to his department. But at the next meeting, the mayor and six Council members voted against leaving any money in the budget for severance, and they cast their votes without the knowledge that a legal contract was already in place. Now Weir is targeting Beecher and the city of Kingman for
unpaid wages.

Due to a state law, he's entitled to triple the $23,750 salary payout. Including unpaid leave and benefits, the bill is around $90,600, not including attorney fees, which Weir is also requesting be paid.

Council didn't learn that Beecher had signed a severance agreement with Weir until three months after it was signed - and after Weir's attorney served the city with the claim.

Watson said she had spoken with Beecher before the meeting Friday to discuss, in part, why he didn't tell Council.

"When I met with him about it, he just said he was sorry, that he was wrong but gave no explanation," she said.

Deering also said Beecher had no comment other than to say "he just goofed up."

 

Beecher future as a City Manager:

Zero, if taxpayer activists can stay one step ahead of him. Let’s stop pretending the consistent pattern of making huge financial deals behind the backs of elected officials he works for is some sort of “goof up”. This pattern of abuse of office is cold, hard, and calculated and designed to divert power from the elected municipal officials to the hired position of city manager.