MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A state labor board says the Manchester Police Department and the city's police union violated the rights of an officer who was fired last year. The ruling may open the door for the officer to get his job back.
Marc Desilets was fired after an internal investigation into his possible involvement in a dog theft.
But Peter Phillips, a Public Employee Labor Relations Board hearing officer, has ruled the Police Department and the Manchester Patrolmen's Association are guilty of unfair labor practices.
Phillips found the union violated Desilets's rights by refusing to represent him after he stopped paying dues.
The hearing officer also ruled the city violated Desilets's rights by not allowing him time to find a union official to represent him during an interview or to have a union representative present during an interview and planned polygraph test.
The hearing officer ruled that because the interviews were part of the investigation that led to theft charges, the charges must be dismissed.
The city is appealing.
Desilets was fired in November 2003 after an internal investigation into a report of a stolen dog named Elway.
On Oct. 24, 2003, Jill Gagne of Manchester reported her roommate's dog had been stolen from their yard. She identified Desilets as a suspect, according to labor board documents.
The owner found the dog at Desilets's home.
Initially, Desilets told investigators that his wife found Elway, according to the case file. Later, he admitted she stole the dog but denied he was involved in the theft.
According to a ''letter of disciplinary intent" concerning Desilets's termination, his wife took the dog and he helped by ''driving by the residence and relaying to his wife that no one was home."
The union told Desilets it could not represent him if the investigation involved something that happened when he was not paying dues
But the board officer ruled the union was obligated to represent Desilets, dues or not.