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Kerwin says the state Personnel Appeals Board punted on his case

November 14, 2012

Peter Kerwin, who was fired earlier this year from a job as program director for the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority, says the state Personnel Appeals Board voted yesterday not to take up his case.

Joseph R. Palumbo, the lawyer for the RIHEAA, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Kerwin says he found the Personnel Appeals Board’s decision curious since, he says, lawyers from both sides were asked during an October 9 meeting to schedule four additional dates in November to discuss the case.

Via email, Kerwin questions if the board’s decision was related to his work as a spokesman for Mark Binder during the just-ended election season:

“It seems odd they would now move to punt the case. … I can’t help but wonder if this has something to do with my work on the campaign against Speaker Fox.”  

Kerwin says he plans to file a whiste-blower suit in federal court as soon as next week.

He says the suit will argue that the Higher Education Assistance Authority fired him for filing an open meetings act against the agency in 2011, “for meetings in May, June, and July of that year when they improperly went into executive session to merge RIHEAA with the RI Student Loan Authority.”

Kerwin contends that merging the RIHEAA and the Student Loan Authority is a bad idea, in part since the authority competes with the US Department of Education.

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