Methuen Police did the Work

Valley Patriot Editorial

 March, 2008

What started off as a paperwork dispute between the Department of Justice and Methuen Police Chief Joe Solomon has resulted in (among other things), other officers accused of being paid for work they did not do.

The fact is, the U.S. Department of Justice has never questioned whether or not Methuen police officers actually worked while being paid under the federal Weed & Seed grant. What is, and has been questioned, (from all the documents available), is whether or not those officers worked in conjunction with the restrictions in the grant and whether or not the work was documented to the satisfaction of the DOJ.

Yet, the Methuen city council has asked the city’s attorney to investigate whether or not it’s legal to make the police officers who worked, pay back the city for the hours that they … worked. Rediculous!

Mayor Manzi told listeners on the Paying Attention! radio program last month that there wasn’t any evidence that these officers did not work.

How can this be? It’s simple. Police officers put on their uniform and go to work. They are told by their chief that they will be assigned to work as part of the Weed and Seed program. The officers report to work, spend time with neighborhood kids, reach out to the community and respond when they are needed. But, when the chief submits his paperwork to the Department of Justice for payment on the grant, he is told that the backup information is inadequate.

Hardly a reason for the city council to unanimously seek legal means to make police officers pay out of their pocket for money that has been lost due to mishandling or administrative red tape.

We find it shameful that these fine officers have had to read their names in the paper, had their integrity questioned, and have been slandered by members of the community all because they happened to be the officers who worked under a federal grant that has been called into question since the day it was awarded.

We find it even more shameful, however, that those who know better (and those who should know better) continue to mislead the public by repeating allegations that have long been proven untrue in order to gain political favor or praise in the daily press.