Bureau of Labor Standards Announces Staff Promotions in the Wage and Hour Division and the Workplace Safety and Health Division Bookmark and Share

February 13, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2014
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009

AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor is pleased to announce the promotion of four employees in the Bureau of Labor Standards. Steve Greeley and Michael LaPlante have been promoted to the leadership positions of the Workplace Safety and Health Division. Verna Eldridge and Scott Cotnoir have been promoted to leadership positions in the Wage and Hour Division.

Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette said, “The promotions reflect positively on the expertise and professionalism of our staff at the Department of Labor. The Bureau of Labor Standards ensures not only that businesses have a level playing field on which to compete but also that workers are safe and paid accurately and on time for their hard work. I congratulate Steve, Mike, Verna and Scott on their promotions and thank them for their efforts on behalf of Mainers.”

Paquette added, “I encourage businesses with questions about regulations in either the area of workplace safety or in wage and hour to reach out to our staff. We want to help you comply with the law and do things right the first time. Avoiding mistakes protects both our workers and our businesses.”

Steve Greeley has been named director of the Workplace Safety and Health Division with the Bureau of Labor Standards. Greeley has worked in the safety and health field for more than 27 years, both in the private and public sector. After getting his start in the field in 1986 at Bath Iron Works, he spent five years in workers’ compensation loss control at The Dunlap Corporation and later worked as a safety specialist for the Cianbro Corporation. In addition to his two decades in the private sector, Greeley has worked in the Department of Labor for more than 14 years, most recently serving as the deputy director of the SafetyWorks! consultation program, which provides no-cost worksite safety reviews and training programs for Maine businesses. Greeley holds an Associate’s of Applied Science degree from Central Maine Community (Technical) College in Occupational Health and Safety, a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Maine at Augusta in Public Administration, and a Master’s of Science degree from Southern New Hampshire University in Organizational Leadership with a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management.

Michael LaPlante has been promoted to the position of Workplace Safety and Health Manager in the Workplace Safety and Health Division of the Bureau of Labor Standards. LaPlante has worked at the Labor Department for more than nine years, serving as an enforcement officer in the southern district and, for the past six years, as the Occupational Health and Safety Program Supervisor. Prior to his tenure at the department, LaPlante worked for Hannaford Brother’s for 28 years, serving in various managerial positions for more than 17 years. LaPlante has been firefighter with the Farmingdale Fire Department for 34 years, currently serving as the assistant chief, and he also worked as a police officer in Farmingdale and as a reserve police officer for the Gardiner Police Department. He is currently the master of the Kennebec #5 Masonic Lodge in Hallowell.

Verna Eldridge has been named director of the Wage and Hour Division within the Bureau of Labor Standards. Eldridge has served the Department of Labor for more than 29 years; she brings expertise in employment regulations and years of experience advising Maine employers to her new position. Prior to her work in Labor Standards, she served the department as a field advisor and examiner in the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation’s Employer Services Division. In the Wage and Hour Division, she worked as a labor and safety inspector and was promoted to chief inspector more than six years ago. In that role she has had responsibility for overseeing all labor and safety inspectors in the division. Eldridge earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Husson College in Bangor, majoring in accounting with a minor in business administration. She is an avid outdoors woman and sports fan.

Scott Cotnoir has been promoted to the position of chief inspector of the Wage and Hour Division within the Bureau of Labor Standards. Cotnoir brings 16 years of experience with state service to this position with 12 of those years as part of the Department of Labor, serving first as a claims adjudicator for the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation and more recently as a labor and safety inspector in the Wage and Hour Division for employers in the central part of Maine. In addition, Cotnoir served 10 years as a police officer with local law enforcement. Cotnoir brings skills in investigation, enforcement, mediation and payroll audits to this position. He attended Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the University of Maine at Augusta as well as the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. He is married, raising a family and is actively involved with his children and the community.

“All employees will be a great asset to the department, the bureau and, most important, to the people of Maine,” said Pamela Taylor, Director of the Bureau of Labor Standards. “We have a strong team, and I look forward to working with them to continue to improve the services we provide to both employers and employees.”

The Bureau of Labor Standards’ Wage and Hour Division provides oversight of Maine’s labor laws, including laws on minimum wage, overtime, youth employment, prevailing wage, breaks, leave, hours and dismissals. The bureau’s Workplace Safety and Health Division manages SafetyWorks!, the department’s on-site health and safety consultation and training program for Maine businesses, and enforces workplace safety regulations for public-sector employers.

Workers or employers with questions or concerns about either workplace safety or wage and hour issues should contact the department at 623-7900 or http://www.maine.gov/labor . Frequently asked questions about wage and hour laws are available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/faqs.html and free labor law posters are available for downloading at http://www.maine.gov/labor/posters/index.html . Employers interested in free safety training and the safety recognition programs that exempt employers from federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections should visit http://www.safetyworksmaine.com/index.shtml .

The Maine Department of Labor is an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

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Supporting documents

Steve Greeley, director of the Workplace Safety and Health Division of the Bureau of Labor Standards, Maine Department of Labor

Michael LaPlante, workplace safety and health manager of the Workplace Safety and Health Division of the Bureau of Labor Standards, Maine Department of Labor

Scott Cotnoir, chief inspector of the Wage and Hour Division of the Bureau of Labor Standards, Maine Department of Labor