Claims Mayor’s actions against him are retaliatory and invokes protections under federal and state whistleblower laws
Supporters of Methuen Police Chief Joe Solmon – February 18, 2008
METHUEN, MA – Whistleblower (noun): An employee, former employee, or member of an organization, especially a business or government agency, who reports misconduct to people or entities that have the power and presumed willingness to take corrective action. Generally, the misconduct is a violation of law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health/safety violations, and corruption
“The disciplinary hearing scheduled for Tuesday February 19, 2008 is nothing more than a ‘show hearing’ by Manzi that is totally devoid of any due process considerations,” said Andy Gambaccini, the attorney representing Chief Joseph Solomon. “Manzi’s actions are retaliatory in nature, animated by anger and a desire for vengeance because the Chief is a whistleblower.”
On September 16, 2007, Chief Solomon received a request for help from a Methuen resident who made allegations of corruption against Mayor Manzi. Chief Solomon reported these allegations to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office on Saturday September 22, 2007, and followed up through written communication and a meeting on Monday September 24, 2007. The Essex County District Attorney’s Office then advised Chief Solomon that the investigation was being referred to the United States Attorney’s Office.
On Tuesday September 25, 2007 Chief Solomon met with two FBI Agents and provided them with the details as conveyed to him by the Methuen resident. Chief Solomon is still actively assisting the FBI in this investigation.
Present at both the September 24 and September 25 meetings was Acting Chief Kathi Lavigne who at the time was a Captain and the commanding officer of the Methuen Police Department Criminal Investigations Bureau. At some point during this initial time period, the existence of the investigation was leaked, and this is when Mayor Manzi abruptly spoke out against Chief Solomon (Tuesday September 25, 2007) and subsequently placed the Chief on paid administrative leave (Friday September 28, 2007).
Chief Solomon is invoking his protections under both the federal and Massachusetts whistleblower laws for the unjust and malicious retaliatory action that has already been taken against him and that is about to be taken against him during Manzi’s “show hearing”.
Manzi statement as to the Weed and Seed Grant:
“Mayor William Manzi said this time he will fight the order and “will not seek disciplinary action against the chief “. There have been no allegations to me that there have been any improprieties or violations of grant procedures other than paperwork at this point,” Manzi said. “It’s my responsibility as mayor not to give the money back or spend money without fully, vigorously using all administrative remedies. The taxpayers ought not to be penalized for alleged administrative deficiencies.”
It is curious that Mayor Manzi is on the record as saying that he would not seek disciplinary action against the Chief (preceding quote from an article written by Eagle-Tribune reporter Stephanie Chelf). Then, after finding out that the Chief did his job, as required under his oath of office and reported a corruption allegation, the Mayor abruptly changed his position.