Mayor's Statement Re Civil Service Case

The decision of the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission yesterday on the case of Joseph Solomon v. the City of Methuen is a lengthy one and is under review by the legal counsel for the City of Methuen. And while we are disappointed at the civil service finding restoring Joseph Solomon to the position of Chief of Police two important points need to be emphasized.

1) The Commission fully upheld my initial suspension of Mr. Solomon for three days over the misallocation of the COPS Grant, which resulted in a back charge to taxpayers of the City of Methuen of over $20,000.

2) The Commission, on the second and more substantive matter, overturned the City sanction of termination. They found sufficient wrongdoing however to impose a penalty of a one year unpaid suspension on Mr. Solomon. That is a severe penalty, although it is less than we sought. The finding of mismanagement of grant funds by the Methuen Police Department has resulted in a back charge to the taxpayers of the City of Methuen of over $170,000.

I will have additional comment in the coming days on the political diatribe that constituted a large portion of the 125 page opinion issued by Commissioner Stein. I would like to return the “compliment” of the Commissioner and say that he has demonstrated great skill at “verbal gymnastics”.

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11 Responses to Mayor's Statement Re Civil Service Case

  1. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    What a week for Democratic Culture.

    1. The man who writes tax law for all Americans Games the system himself, plus committed a host of other illegal activity. He’s a long time Democrat. His felonious activity was so grievous that even the Ethic Commission could not hide it. That, is bad.

    2. A congresswoman from California has played favorites with bank tied to her husband.

    3. Our Fannie, Freddie guy from Connecticut who took favors from those who he wrote law for has resigned (in disgrace).

    I guess this is what Nancy Pelosi called the most ethical congress ever.

    Now my friend, the Mayor, is undermined by a political management culture that favors and protects it’s own. Now you have to climb this mountain called Solomon again. I am with you on this one. As the town administrator you should have the right to have the managers you judge as most effective.

    There is no justice in the Democratic world.

    Jules

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  2. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,

    The validity of your criticism, especially of Rangel, cannot be denied. Nor is the criticism diminished by silly attempts to point to prior Republican transgressions. The “other guy did it too” is not a plausible defense. The Civil Service issue points to the core dysfunction of the system in Massachusetts. Out of touch bureaucrats setting rules that make effective management impossible are the norm in todays Massachusetts. More on the raw hypocrisy of the Civil Service system soon. And yes that system reflects very very poorly on the Democratic Party and the Civil Service appointing authority.

    Bill

    Like

  3. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    I invite you to co-sponsor a new party I call the “Good Governance Party”.

    Jules Gordon
    Founding Member GGP

    Like

  4. Jim says:

    Jules,
    Shall I bring the tea bags? 😉

    Like

  5. Jules Gordon says:

    Jim,
    How have you been? Good to hear from you.

    Jules

    Like

  6. Jim says:

    I’m well Jules. Glad to see you’re kicking with the same spunk as well.

    Like

  7. matty k says:

    “The Civil Service System is a 19th century relic that makes it difficult to run government efficiently” – Gov. Mitt Romney

    Like

  8. Bob LeBlanc says:

    Interesting that there are not substantive comments on this issue. Suprising! One question : What is a “chargeback” and how is that calculated? Did the City actually expend money? When did it make a payment? I recall that Councillors Leone and Zanni made a big splash about demanding that those officers who actually got the $170,000 in questionable overtime be required to either pay it back or be disciplined. Did anything like that actually happen? If not why not?

    Like

  9. Bill Manzi says:

    Bob,

    In this case a charge back refers to grant funds expended improperly under the terms of federal grants, and charged back to the City by the federal government. Two grants, two separate charge backs.

    Like

  10. Frank Simmons says:

    Mr Mayor,
    I know my question is slightly off topic. However, it does involve Law enforcement grants and I feel that in the current state of Methuen’s financial strains this topic needs to be addressed. I am wondering what Methuen’s current position is in regards to joining Sheriff Frank G. Cousins Jr. with his proposed regional 911 lockup. Currently only eight towns out of the original sixteen are on board and I have heard Methuen is one of them. I would like to share with you a letter from a Danvers M.A selectmen which warns towns that this is a bad idea and a financial comitment that does not make sense. There is a lot of sentiment out there also that this is nothing more than a power grab on the Sheriff’s part for his own long term interest and not the towns on board. Does Methuen really need this regional 911 lockup. And do you support this idea.

    “The regional dispatch center proposed for Essex County originally started with interest from 19 communities. Since then, the number of interested communities dropped to 13, then to 11 and now Sheriff Frank Cousins plans to move ahead with the eight communities that remain. Although the sheriff’s office often refers to these communities as “members” or “signees,” none have officially committed to participation in this regional proposal.

    The proposal promises a cost of $16.26 per capita. This is based on a total of 40 dispatchers, with 12 to 15 on a shift, to serve a population of 220,000 across 13 communities. With only eight communities still interested, the population served by the proposed center is less than 129,000 or 60 percent of the total on which the $16.26 per capita cost is based. Even with this drastic reduction, the sheriff’s office has committed to maintaining the $16.26 per capita charge, but potential communities should be very careful about what they are buying.

    With a 40 percent reduction in the population served, the sheriff’s proposal will have to reduce operating costs by 40 percent in order to maintain the $16.26 charge. Because the proposal includes certain fixed costs that do not scale with the total number of dispatchers, there will have to be a greater than 40 percent reduction in the total number of dispatchers. This will result in approximately 20 total dispatchers employed by the center or only five dispatchers on a shift to cover the population of 129,000.

    One of the selling points that the sheriff’s office has been using is that the cost of constructing the center will be funded by a $6.8M grant from the state 911 department. I think it is an incredible waste of taxpayers’ dollars to spend such a large sum to provide a center for such a small population. Even if the center provides seven dispatchers on a shift, should we be spending almost $1 million per seat?

    It is now up to the eight communities, including yours, to decide if this is really the right project to make regional dispatch a reality. I believe that the better solution is the one that consolidates existing dispatch operations by expansion of the larger ones and closure of the smaller ones, as opposed to the creation of yet another government entity, but until the eight communities say no, as opposed to continuing to study the situation, alternatives solutions will not proceed.

    It’s time to end the stalemate. If you live in Beverly, Hamilton, Wenham, Middleton, Topsfield or Swampscott the time is now to contact your city councilors or Board of Selectmen and tell them to say no to the creation of another bureaucracy so the development of a better solution can begin”.

    Keith Lucy

    Selectman, town of Danvers

    Like

  11. Summer Lindstrom says:

    Is there a name and address that residents of Methuen can direct their remarks to regarding Mr. Stein’s, and the rest of the commission’s, ridiculous decision that solomon should return as police chief even though he did his job badly?? There is no place that you can work that will suspend you for a year for doing a bad job and then let you come back to do it badly again. Mr. Stein is out of touch with reality, and the archiac commission in general needs to go. Who has the authority to highlight the egregious atrocity the commission has committed by trying to shove an incompletent police chief down the throats of Methuen residents? They must answer to someone. Who is it?

    Like

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