VALLEY PATRIOT EDITORIAL
At issue was Attorney Richard D’Agostino, who was applying to replace McQuillan as city solicitor after the council voted not to renew McQuillan’s contract. While D’Agostino was being questioned at a public hearing, McQuillan was feeding questions and damaging information to Councilor Atkinson in an attempt to stop D’Agostino from getting the job.
We expected officials to find out all the facts surrounding Councilor Atkinson’s advocacy of McQuillan and his efforts to defame Richard D’Agostino, which tainted the process of hiring his replacement.
We expected the city council, the mayor and the chief of police to ask the questions that Methuen residents have been asking since the Jamie Atkinson scandal was brought to light.
Since McQuillan was still on the job awaiting a replacement, was a city cell phone or computer used to influence Atkinson’s vote?
Was there collusion between Atkinson and McQuillan to destroy Attorney Richard D’Agostino’s reputation?
Did Councilor Jamie Atkinson know about McQuillan contacting Richard D’Agostino’s references to get them to retract their letters of recommendation? Did Atkinson participate in scuttling D’Agostino’s application for city solicitor?
Did McQuillan use city cell phones or computers to orchestrate Lawrence Mayor Lantigua’s letter to the council attacking D’Agostino the day before his hearing?
Did Councilor Jamie Atkinson know about, or participate in, McQuillan’s misdeeds and further McQuillan’s agenda: which was to force the Methuen Council to repost the job and start the hiring process all over again, so he could fight to get his job back?
Were laws broken? City policies? Ethics violations?
It seems Methuen residents will never know the answers to these questions because the council refused to accept Councilor Tom Ciulla’s motion for a full investigation into the shenanigans of Councilor Jamie Atkinson and Solicitor McQuillan.
Whether you like former City of Lawrence Attorney Richard D’Agostino or you don’t, whether you favored his appointment to replace McQuillan or not, no applicant for a city job should be treated the way Rick D’Agostino was treated.
Everyone who applies and goes through the hiring process for any city job must do so knowing that the process is fair, and there isn’t anyone stacking the deck behind the scenes to favor or exclude anyone.
We understand that some on the council may want to shy away from something as controversial as an investigation into an elected official in an election year.
However, the people of Methuen deserve to know the truth whether it’s an election year or not.
We urge the Methuen City Council to reconsider investigating what really happened in the Councilor Jamie Atkinson scandal.
We urge them to ask the relevant questions, determine how deep this goes, and how many other cases of conflict of interest Atkinson and McQuillan have been involved in.
The public must be confident that their elected officials are making decisions based only on the merits of the candidates or proposals in front of them, not who they are friends with or who they made deals with behind the scenes.
Methuen voters are not getting the answers they deserve. The city council owes it to them to get those answers.