More information is surfacing about last Wednesday’s abrupt resignation of Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie, hired two years ago by the now retiring Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell to reform the beleaguered agency.
Rell told the CT Mirror today that Marie’s departure was the result of an allegation about harassment. Last week her administration said Marie wanted to spend more time with his family and pursue other long-term employment. And Marie in a phone interview at the time said his departure was planned and amicable.
The harassment rumor has been gaining traction for a week now and we asked Marie about it last Wednesday but withheld his response from print because there was no official confirmation.
“You don’t expect me to actually respond to that?” Marie said at the time. “I have an impeccable record, and I know of no complaints made against me and have always worked in a very ethical manner.”
He continued: “That’s bad information and I don’t know where you are getting it from … I certainly hope that isn’t going in a story … I doubt anything like that is going to surface.”
The pressure has clearly been on Rell to be more forthcoming. Right before the CT Mirror story broke I sent a Freedom of Information request to Rell’s office and the DOT seeking what I was told by sources was an agreement Marie signed regarding his departure. We also had a pending FOI request, submitted late last week, for about a month’s worth of Marie’s e-mails as well as his most recent schedules to try and determine whether his resignation was truly planned.
Rell released that agreement to the CT Mirror and I’m told she’ll be issuing a general press statement later today.
Governor M. Jodi Rell today issued the following statement on the letter of resignation and stipulated agreement signed by former Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Joseph F. Marie:
“My office was contacted by a person representing a DOT employee who had alleged inappropriate behavior by the Commissioner. Legal counsel for the Governor’s Office conducted a preliminary inquiry into the allegation.
“No formal complaint of any kind was ever filed and no formal investigation was ever conducted.
“However, at the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry, Commissioner Marie was offered an opportunity to resign and he did so. He also signed a stipulated agreement that required him to return all state equipment, including computers, cell phones and cars; restricted his access to all state facilities; and barred him from contacting or criticizing any state employees or administration officials.
“I moved expeditiously in seeking this resignation – first and foremost, to end any alleged inappropriate and unacceptable behavior, and also to resolve the situation in a way that was respectful to the employee involved and all of the people affected, including innocent family members.”