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Harrietstown Supervisor Larry Miller
Harrietstown Supervisor Larry Miller

Harrietstown supervisor faces harassment allegation

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A town supervisor in Saranac Lake is considering resigning amid allegations that he sexually harassed the town's former bookkeeper.

The Harrietstown town board agreed in December to have its insurance company pay Brenda LaPierre $30,000 to settle a sexual harassment complaint she filed last year against Larry Miller. Miller's been the town's supervisor since 2002.

As Chris Knight reports, those involved are saying little about the case because of a confidentiality agreement that's part of the settlement.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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The Harrietstown town board held its regular meeting last night, the same day that the sexual harassment allegations against Larry Miller went public in a report published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Not a word was said about the case, but it was the elephant in the room.

Miller has refused to answer questions about the alleged sexual harassment, and declined to speak on tape about the matter, because he signed a confidentiality agreement. However, Miller admitted he is considering stepping down as supervisor.

LaPierre, the town's former bookeeper, has also refused to outline the allegations she made against Miller, which were contained in a sexual harassment complaint she filed last year with the state Division of Human Rights, two months after the town eliminated her position.

LaPierre's complaint was later dismissed because she planned to pursue the matter in federal court.

But before any lawsuit was filed, the town's insurance company reached a $30,000 out of court settlement with LaPierre, roughly $5,000 of which the town taxpayers will be on the hook for. At a special town board meeting Dec. 30, the board voted unanimously to have Miller finalize the settlement agreement.

The vote, however, was not recorded in the official minutes of the meeting, which is part of the reason why the matter hasn't surfaced until now. Town officials claim that there was no intent to try and hide anything.

Despite the confidentiality agreement, several members of the town board were willing to speak about the case. They said they were "blindsided" by the allegations and had no knowledge of any alleged harassment before LaPierre's complaint was filed.

Some members of the board said they wanted to contest the allegations, but the town's insurance company decided to settle the case because it would have cost much more to fight it.

Miller wouldn't say when he plans to make a decision about his future as town supervisor. A Republican, he has more than a year-and-a-half remaining on his current four-year term.

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