Director of Housing Stability placed on administrative leave

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Director of Housing Stability Adrienne Beloin on Mar. 19, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, NH – A special Board of Aldermen meeting has been scheduled for April 11 for the purpose of a termination hearing for Department of Housing Stability Director Adrienne Beloin, who was placed on paid administrative leave as of April 5. The time of the meeting has not yet been announced.

A primary reason cited by the mayor was comments made by Beloin on a local talk radio show during a recap of the board’s April 2 decision to move her office into the emergency shelter at 39 Beech St.

In a letter dated April 5 Mayor Jay Ruais advised Beloin that she was being placed on administrative leave, citing comments she made “publicly and negatively” to and about certain board members and the mayor both during the April 2 meeting and the April 4 interview on a local radio talk show.

In the letter Ruais wrote:

“Just last week, I met with you to discuss recent instances in which your behavior has run directly counter to my expectations and advice. At that time, I provided you with a written list of my expectations going forward, which included the need for you to ensure appropriate communication with the BMA in a responsive and respectful manner, and to facilitate effective dialogue with other City personnel, my office and the BMA

Since that meeting in my office, you have spoken publicly and negatively, to certain Board members, about certain Board members and me, and about the Board generally, both at the BMA meeting on April 2, 2024 and in a radio interview on April 4, 2024, in a manner which is simply untenable for a City Department Head.” 

When contacted by the Ink Link on Thursday regarding the April 2 meeting and April 4 comments by Beloin, the mayor’s communications director Angela Leach said “The Mayor’s office will not be commenting on personnel matters.”

During the April 2 meeting Beloin was called forward by Ward 9 Alderman Jim Burkush who wanted to discuss three agenda items involving her department: to locate her office within 39 Beech Street emergency shelter; that anyone entering the shelter without an ID be assisted in getting one; and that all shelter policy be reviewed by the Special Committee on Alcohol, Other Drugs and Youth Services, an aldermanic committee of five – Aldermen Kelly Thomas, Bill Barry, Norm Vincent, Crissy Kantor and Dan O’Neil.

That committee made the unanimous recommendations to the board following a six-minute discussion at the end of their March 18 meeting. That item was not on their regular agenda.

On April 4 Drew Cline, a talk radio host for WFEA, invited Beloin on his morning show to discuss the board’s public decision to move her office into the emergency shelter. Beloin has appeared on the show previously to discuss her work with the city.

“So what happened? Did you know this was happening? Did it just come up? Was it on the agenda?” Cline asked Beloin.

Beloin responded that she knew it was happening after the committee voted on the matter. She also told Cline she does not currently have an office.

“I have been squatting in a very small window-less office at the welfare department since I arrived,” Beloin said, explaining that she had recently been moved from the welfare department to the health department where she shares a conference room table with her administrative assistant. There is no other furniture and they use the floor for other necessary items.

She said she is not the only person who has to deal with temporary or improper office conditions at City Hall. However, the vote to move her to a small office space adjacent to the sleeping area of the emergency shelter was not anything that anyone had discussed with her prior to the committee vote.

She explained during the April 2 meeting that three spaces with doors for privacy were added during the build-out of the engagement center with the idea that they might be useful to clinicians and residents seeking privacy to discuss medical or insurance matters. Beloin also tried to explain during the meeting that in the five months since the engagement center opened its doors they have entered into partnerships with more than two dozen community providers, including Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, City Welfare, Healthcare for the Homeless, Live Free Recovery, Veterans County, 603 Legal Aid and Job Corps.

“This is the condition the city has provided me to work in and it’s not something I’ve had to talk about until now because of what they’ve just done,” Beloin said.

In the notice of termination letter Ruais also referenced the need for Beloin “to ensure appropriate communication with the BMA in a responsive and respectful manner, and to facilitate effective dialogue with other City personnel, my office and the BMA.”

Beloin was given the option of the April 11 meeting being non-public.

When asked on Friday about the termination letter, Beloin said she looks forward to the opportunity to be heard on April 11.

“Apparently the board is my boss and because I am a City employee I can be harassed and berated ad nauseum in public and on social media, but I can’t defend myself.  People cannot be treated this way and I certainly won’t stand for it.  I am raising 10-year-old daughters to be strong and powerful and just.  I look forward to the public hearing where the truth will not be held back.”

A slide from the March 19, 2024, Housing Stability presentation on the engagement center.

Beloin was referencing not only lines of questioning by board members during public meetings – which she has said at times misrepresents the work being done by herself and her staff, but also the continued public commentary by Board Chairman Joe Levasseur made via his weekly cable-access TV program, “The Will and Joe Show,” which he co-hosts with State Rep. Will Infantine and which is broadcast on Manchester Public TV and also on Facebook.  Beloin has been included as a target over the past several weeks.

On March 20, for example, Levasseur complained about the length of Beloin’s 35-minute presentation focused on data and outcomes at the emergency shelter, a presentation requested by the mayor in February.

The presentation, which can be viewed here, includes data on the number of site visits by providers and demographics of the shelter population, including the percentages of those who are over 55, physically disabled or undergoing mental health services.

“I didn’t learn anything new,” Levasseur said during his cable program of the presentation.

Below: A letter sent to the Board of Aldermen by Director Beloin following the March 19 Board of Aldermen’s meeting and  presentation.

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About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!