Peter Kerwin fired from RIHEAA position
Peter Kerwin, a longtime Rhode Island government official and former press secretary for the secretary of state’s office, has been dismissed from his job as chief of program development for the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority.
Kerwin says he was dismissed from the $72,000-a year job by the RIHEAA board last Friday on a 3 to 2 vote of the agency board. The three votes to fire him, Kerwin says, came from three board members who also serve on the board of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority. One of those three votes, Kerwin states, came from a designee of state General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.
Kerwin says his firing was “a clear act of retribution for my activities as a whistle-blower’’’ and a “continued pattern of harassment and intimidation’’ by RIHEAA’s Charlie Kelley, the interim coordinating officer.
Rhode Island Public Radio was directed by Raimondo’s office to Joseph Palumbo, lawyer for the RIHEAA. Palumbo did not immediately return a telephone call to us.
Kerwin says his lawyer is filing an appeal to the state personnel board and considering other legal action.