The police issued a “no trespass” order against newly laid-off town employee Laurie Perry Wednesday following a complaint by Finance Director Linda Dykeman about Perry’s visit to the Finance Department to pick up her belongings. Perry had worked in the department for two years before learning via certified letter Tuesday that she had been laid off due to lack of work. Perry had been out on leave at the time.
Perry went to Town Hall to retrieve her belongings Wednesday. After she had collected her things, Finance Director Linda Dykeman asked Perry to show her what she had taken. Perry refused and left the building with her husband, Bill Perry, an EG Fire Department lieutenant and head of the firefighters union. That action prompted Dykeman to call the police and ask them to issue Laurie Perry a “no trespass” notice for the Finance Department, which they did.
EG Chief of Staff Michaela Antunes issued an email Wednesday afternoon to all town employees that inaccurately described the extent of the prohibition against Perry:
“I am writing to inform you that as a result of an incident that occurred today at Town Hall, a restraining order has been issued to former Town employee Laurie Perry, restraining her from coming to, or entering upon, any Town building or facility. Given this situation, you are directed not to allow Ms. Perry onto or into any Town property without prior authorization or approval from the Town Manager. If you see Ms. Perry at, in or upon Town buildings, facilities, or property, please notify the East Greenwich Police Department at (401) 886-8640.”
According to Town Solicitor David D’Agostino, Perry was in the wrong denying Dykeman permission to see what she had taken but acknowledged that Perry was entitled to her belongings.
“It’s her stuff. She has a right to it,” he said. But he said there’s “a proper way to go about things.”
“If someone who has been laid off and has been out on leave comes in and removes items from the Finance Department, the director has the right to say, ‘What is it that you’re removing?’”
As for the email from Antunes, D’Agostino said midday Thursday that a revision might be issued.
“If the chief of staff’s notice was based on internal information that was subsequently changed, then a revision will be issued,” he said. “You make decisions based on information known at the time. Clearly, this ‘no trespassing’ situation is evolving.”
The police report and no trespass order did not change from Wednesday to Thursday.
Antunes did issue a revised message to town employees Thursday afternoon:
“I am writing to inform you that a revised no trespassing order has been issued to former Town employee Laurie Perry, restraining her from coming to, or entering any private office in any Town building or facility without an appointment. Excluded from this order are public spaces in said buildings and facilities.”
Laurie Perry was the second of Bill Perry’s relatives to be separated from the town in the past five days. Jim Perry, Bill’s brother and a firefighter due to come off probation Monday, was fired Saturday night. Antunes declined to comment on the reason for that action. Town Manager Gayle Corrigan issued a response Monday to a complaint Bill Perry made against Town Council President Sue Cienki.
– Elizabeth F. McNamara
* Added Friday, Aug. 25, at 11:25 a.m.