Civil Service Commission Issues Report on Former Methuen Chief Solomon’s Role in Illegal Hiring of Sean Fountain



The Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has issued a scathing report on the hiring of former Methun City Councilor Sean Fountain as a permanent intermittent police officer without the proper certification.

Fountain, while chairman of the Methuen City Council, was hired as an interim police officer due to a special piece of legislation passed by the Methuen City Council and the legislature, with the stipulation that he would only work on private details and not paid directly by the city.


Also at issue is the fact that Fountina claimed (prior to being hired) that he had had the required certification as a permanent full time police officer when he did not receive that training. The report faults Solomon for allowing Fountain to work as a full time officer when he had not provided the adequate training certification as required by law. The report concludes that Chief Solomon knew Fountain was not certified and hired him anyway.

Despite the fact the Chief Solomon was not the appointing authority (the mayor appoints police officers) the commission stated:

“In published reports, Chief Solomon has cited the fact that the City’s Mayor, not the Police Chief, is the appointing authority for the MPD. Having reviewed thousands of documents and listened to the credible statements of many current and former MPD employees, it is painfully clear that Solomon considered MPD operations to be his sole domain, instilling a fear of retaliation against anyone who questioned his authority or decisions.”

The commission report states that Solomon knew fountain was not certified and yet appointed him anyway.

“The results of an investigation conducted by the Civil Service Commission (Commission) show that, for years, Joseph Solomon, former Chief of the Methuen Police Department (MPD), circumvented the civil service law and rules by improperly allowing non-civil service intermittent police officers to serve as de facto, full-time, civil service police officers.

They listed Solomon’s culpability:

  • Chief Solomon failed to ensure that Fountain completed basic prerequisites prior to being appointed as an intermittent police officer in 2016.
  • Chief Solomon allowed Fountain, who had failed to meet the requirements for serving as a part-time intermittent officer, to become a full-time intermittent police officer in violation of additional state and city laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Chief Solomon routinely stonewalled information requests related to Fountain’s qualifications.
  • Facing increased scrutiny, Chief Solomon sought a waiver for Fountain from the MPTC.
  • Chief Solomon personally provided the “lost” Fountain training certificate to the City’s Human Resources Director, which was ultimately sent to the MPTC.
  • Chief Solomon orchestrated the filing of false sworn reports regarding Fountain with HRD. (the state)

The lengthy report details a myriad of communications between city officials showing confusion at every level as to whether Fountain had the required certification and what laws applied – as Fountain was a former firefighter in North Andover and was trying to transfer over his certifications. They also showed several emails from city officials questioning the legality of hiring Fountain.

The report also cites city employees submitted “false reports” to the state regarding Fountain’s appointment.

“Paul Fahey, former Chief of Staff to Mayor Jajuga, and Anne Randazzo, former Assistant City Solicitor and Human Resources Director, authorized the submission of a report to the state’s Human Resources Division falsely stating that Fountain was a permanent, civil service police officer.”

The commission gave a listing of recommendations and orders to the city that laid out as follows:

1. The Commission orders the City, within 120 days, to identify any person potentially denied appointment as a civil service police officer or reserve police officer in Methuen as a result of the unlawful appointments of full-time, non-civil service intermittent officers identified in this report and to petition the Commission for appropriate relief on their behalf.

2. The Commission orders the City, within 120 days, to present the Commission with more fully developed internal controls that (a) prevent the appointment of individuals who have not met all state, local and department prerequisites; and (b) ensure the integrity of police personnel files.

3. The Commission orders the City, within thirty days, to submit amended Section 67 reports to HRD which clarify that Fountain was never a permanent, civil service police officer in Methuen.

4. The Commission recommends that the City continue to explore legal action against Joseph Solomon, as well as Sean Fountain, notwithstanding Chief Solomon’s retirement and Sean Fountain’s resignation.

5. The Commission recommends that the City implement a streamlined and transparent
system for processing and responding to public records requests.

6. The Commission recommends that the City Council move to repeal Chapter 60 of the Acts of 2017 (the Fountain Special Act).

The Civil Service Commission “on it’s own” stated that they were providing a copy of the report to “the Office of the Attorney General; the Office of the Inspector General; the State Ethics Commission; the Essex County District Attorney’s Office; the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC); the Methuen Retirement Board and the Essex County Retirement Board.”