Manchester housing director on administrative leave after comments about aldermen; ouster expected (2024)

Apr. 6—Manchester's director of housing stability has been placed on paid administrative leave, with a special meeting regarding her job status planned for next week — if she doesn't resign before then, several sources with direct knowledge confirmed.

The administrative moves follow comments made on WFEA radio in Manchester with Drew Cline this week that angered some city officials.

If Adrienne Beloin does not resign, a special meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be scheduled for Thursday, April 11, where a recommendation is expected to be made that her employment be terminated, sources said Saturday.

If the meeting occurs, 10 members on the board will vote in favor of termination, sources predicted, achieving the threshold necessary to remove a department head.

Mayor Jay Ruais is away this weekend serving his National Guard commitment and unavailable for comment, but multiple sources confirmed he sent Beloin a memo Friday informing her she was being placed on administrative leave.

Attempts to reach Beloin for comment Saturday were unsuccessful.

A source with direct knowledge of the contents of the memo sent to Beloin on Friday confirmed it referenced her radio appearance, saying her comments and additional statements made during an April 2 aldermen meeting went against expectations of communicating with board members in a "respectful" manner.

A source with direct knowledge of the situation said the current situation has been building for a couple months, with some department heads complaining of a "toxic" environment involving Beloin.

While the April 11 special meeting, if it occurs, could occur in nonpublic, Beloin has reportedly asked that it be held in public session, a source confirmed. Beloin will be given the opportunity to speak and defend herself to board members.

On WFEA radio, Beloin pushed back at a vote by aldermen to move her office to the Beech Street homeless shelter and accused board members of political "posturing."

Beloin's comments angered some board members, including board chairman Joe Kelly Levasseur, who appeared on the same show early Friday to address them.

"Disappointing to say the very least, a department head or other city employee, speaking about the mayor and aldermen the way she did," Levasseur said during his radio appearance. "I've never seen that before, ever. I hope I never see it again. And we'll be using (Cline's) interview as a teaching moment for any future department heads or employees coming into the door. It was extremely unprofessional and uncalled for and really unnecessary to do what she did."

Asked if he expected repercussions from her comments, Levasseur said that's in Mayor Jay Ruais's hands.

"The mayor can make a recommendation that the board terminate her," Levasseur said. "Just remember this is an ARPA-funded position, this is not a taxpayer-funded position, and expires in 2026. A lot of us do not want to be in the shelter business, and we're trying to send that shelter into nonprofit hands so that the city is out of the shelter business. So you know the position could come to an end just by not being funded or when ARPA funds run out.

"If I was the mayor, I would make a recommendation that she should not be working for the city of Manchester based on the comments that were made."

In her comments on WFEA, Beloin referenced the nine aldermen who voted to move her department — Chris Morgan, Crissy Kantor, Ross Terrio, Ed Sapienza, Bill Barry, Norm Vincent, Kelly Thomas, Levasseur and Dan O'Neil.

"We have a new board, this new board, I was very optimistic that they would be rational and reasonable," Beloin said. "They would want to do what's right for people.

"This is an opportunity because homelessness is such a hot-button topic for them to overreach and take a look at things, and maybe they do believe they think they know how to run something better, right?" Beloin said. "Or they think that you know how something should be set up, but they really don't, and that's not an insult to them. That's just a reality. That's not a background that anyone on that board has, and they need to be respectful to me as the person who has the insight on that.

"Tuesday night was a real clear indication that they don't have the capacity to do that."

Beloin also said the claim by some aldermen that more oversight is needed at the shelter is "not at all the truth."

"They have no information that has been provided to them that indicates that there needs to be more oversight," Beloin said. "We have had no issues. We have had no incidents. We've never had a discussion. So they're just doing something in order to downgrade the focus of the housing stability work because they don't want to pay for housing. They don't want to pay for the initiatives that it will take to actually reduce homelessness in Manchester, and they want to sweep it all under the rug.

"This is just posturing by them."

Manchester housing director on administrative leave after comments about aldermen; ouster expected (2024)


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