Fired prison warden remains on state payroll, may appeal dismissal

By Juliette Laaka | Jan 31, 2013
Maine State Prison Warden Patricia Barnhart.

Warren — Patricia Barnhart, who was abruptly dismissed from her position as warden of the Maine State Prison earlier this month, remains on the state payroll, confirmed Jody Breton, associate commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections.

Breton said she could not comment on why Barnhart was still receiving payment from the state because it is a personnel matter.

Barnhart is a civil service employee and is not unionized, she added.

Rodney Bouffard of the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland is currently in charge of the prison, she said.

To appeal her dismissal, Barnhart faces six steps to attempt to resolve the grievance, including meeting with the state director of human resources and submitting the dispute to the state civil service appeals board. The appeals board investigates matters in the controversy and hears from parties involved before making a decision, according to the state statute.

Breton would not discuss whether a notice of claim has been filed against the state.

Joyce Oreskovich, state director of human resources, said she was uncertain if information was public regarding Barnhart's potential appeal. She added she has inquired to the State Attorney General of the information's status.

David Heidrich, of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said Thursday that the Attorney General confirmed appeals are completely confidential.

Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at

Comments (12)
Posted by: Linda L Post | Feb 07, 2013 06:52

One word why we HAVE to pay them: UNIONS!

Posted by: N H | Feb 07, 2013 06:47

Why?  Why?  Are you reading the same article the rest of us are?  A person is fired, a person stops getting paid.  Why?


Posted by: Dale Hayward | Feb 06, 2013 19:47

Why do State employees have all these rights; appeal firing, get paid while they "fight". Maine is an at-will employment State meaning that in the private sector your boss can throw you out the door for no reason at all and get away with it unless he says "your too old" or some cunning remark like that.

Posted by: Richard L. Ames | Feb 04, 2013 09:59

If you check your facts, she is not the first female to run the prison. Ward Murphy ran it back in the 70's

Posted by: N H | Feb 02, 2013 07:45

She?  I don't get it.  Who is that guy in the picture then?

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 01, 2013 08:42

I find it curious that the first woman hired in this capacity is subjected to this much ado about nothing. If there is cause, spell it out. Otherwise I question if the female factor is involved in her termination, oh excuse me, her suspension.

Mickey McKeever

Posted by: Debra L Whittier | Feb 01, 2013 07:14

That's why I think she should appeal, so the truth comes out.  I think there is much more to this story - just a feeling I have.  Didn't the Prison receive a perfect score on a recent certification, under her leadership?

Posted by: Kathryn Flanagan | Feb 01, 2013 04:49

The Maine State Penitentiary is one of Maine's most important institutions. We citizens need to know the facts surrounding this decision.  If passion is to be generated, and I am sure it will, give it to us straight.

Posted by: Wilber Eugene Roman Sr. | Jan 31, 2013 22:03

Sure she should appeal,and keep recieving full pay at the taxpayers expence.What a bunch of crap....Let her appeal because it is her right,but don't punish the taxpayers by paying her while she does it.

Posted by: Catherine Cooper | Jan 31, 2013 20:26

Whether she did anything wrong or not, the paychecks should stop after she is let go.

Posted by: Jim Gamage | Jan 31, 2013 17:13


Posted by: Debra L Whittier | Jan 31, 2013 15:04

I hope she appeals - in my opinion, she certainly should.

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