Ex-state Board of Elections executive director Robert Kando is once again suing his former employer, this time in state Superior Court. Kando filed suit Monday in Providence County Superior Court, accusing the board of violating his due process rights, the state Whistleblower’s Act and the Open Meetings Act by firing him in August 2016. The filing comes after U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell ruled in the board’s favor in June by refusing to reconsider his dismissal of Kando’s lawsuit challenging his firing from the $143,000-plus position he had held since 2005.
McConnell weeks earlier had dismissed Kando’s federal claims with prejudice and the state claims without prejudice, which allowed him to take further action in state court. In dismissing the case, McConnell rejected Kando’s due-process claims, noting that unclassified employees, such as the board executive director, serve at the pleasure of their appointing authority, in this case the board.
Kando has appealed that matter to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In Kando’s latest suit, he accuses the board of violating the state Whistleblower’s Protection Act by suspending him without pay after he and another employee raised formal “violence in the workplace” complaints against board member Stephen P. Erickson. Kando enjoyed eight years of “loyal, dedicated, and effective service” as executive director until personality conflicts led to him becoming the focal point of the board’s dissatisfaction, the suit says.