Just minutes after posting the story on-line about Methuen Police Captain Greg Gallant (story here) winning his Civil Service case against the City of Methuen for wrongful termination, the hate mail started pouring in.
People were outraged, they were confused, and they were hostile.
How could this be, many asked. How did Gallant get away with so many crimes and then get put back on the job? Clearly this was a travesty of justice, the ignorant and uninformed wrote.
Well, I am going to tell you something that’s very unpopular, something you probably do not want to hear. But, it needs to be said.
The ruling was sound.
The accusations were bogus from day one. The media propaganda against Gallant were calculated and coordinated between members of the Methuen City Council and the mayor’s office. In short, you were sold a bill of goods. That’s a fact. It’s not a pretty fact, and it’s not what people want to believe, but it’s the truth, nonetheless.
From day one of the fake political scandal that was shoved down the throats of Methuen taxpayers, it was designed to do two things: deflect blame from elected officials who lied to the voters about the contents of the contract, and to scapegoat the union president who negotiated the contract.
Here are the facts as laid out by the Civil Service Commission:
Methuen Police Captain Greg Gallant negotiated with the city and made multiple proposed changes to the contract, up to the final minutes – as all contract negotiators do.
ALL OF THEM.
Because the superiors had taken a bath on previous contracts and had educational incentives and other benefits taken out of their base pay, Gallant sought to get those benefits put back in the contract as part of base pay.
He then proposed a 0% raise the first year, and a 2% raise for years two and three (on top of the base).
The final proposed revisions were ADMITTEDLY well known to City Auditor Tom Kelley. They were well known by some members of the city council. They were well known by the mayor’s office, and they were well known by the city’s attorneys.
All of that has been established as fact and are not in dispute.
Yet, they all lied to the public and pretended Gallant “snuck” these provisions into the contract in the dead of night, forcing everyone to sign it without knowing what was in it.
It’s also a fact that Mayor Perry and the city council have since signed a new contract with the superior officers that is more than the Gallant contract they publicly called “criminal.”
They even created a brand-new position of Deputy Chief that pays $221,241 in the first year. We all know that as the next few years go by, that $221K will grow to $300K and more – well more than what former Chief Solomon was making.
So, the mayor and councilors wanted you to believe in 2022 that a police chief is not worth $300K. But in 2023 a brand-new Deputy Chief’s position that never existed IS worth upwards of $300K. That’s on top of the other three superior officers’ jobs they just added to the ranks last year. And you all fell for all of it.
So did the rest of the media, who jumped all over this Gallant story without doing any homework at all, and ran with the storyline of cops making three quarters of a million dollars, (which also wasn’t true) fudging contracts, and committing crimes.
And why not?
It’s a much juicier story than a bunch of politicians not doing their jobs and lying to the public. Hell, that happens every day around here. Besides, cops running rogue and stealing money from the taxpayers sells way more newspapers, radio advertising, and TV commercials.
Here’s just one passage from the Civil Service Commission’s ruling:
“Captain Gallant also placed his calculation formula where the mayor was most likely to see it— on the same page as, and immediately after, the new ‘0,2,2’ language that the mayor had requested.”
If Gallant was trying so hard to “sneak in illegal raises” he would have buried the new language in the middle of the document where nobody would notice it. But he didn’t.
The problem with political narratives that sound juicy, and explosive is that people are so willing to believe them.
People just ignorantly jumped on the bandwagon and ran around the community vilifying Gallant (and others) over what was being called a “criminal contract,” complete with bogus salary numbers, and a plethora of other bogus charges just to muddy the water.
That’s not me saying that, Civil Service said it in their ruling.
YES, Methuen voters have every right to be angry and outraged by what happened here. It IS their money!
But they shouldn’t be mad at Greg Gallant, or the police superior officers, they should be furious at the corrupt and dishonest politicians who continuously lie about this issue long after the truth was established. They should also be mad at the media who just repeated those lies to sell a good story and make more money.
Gallant is now set to get a really nice payday and be put back to work on the Methuen Police Department. And no matter what Civil Service says, some people will continue to believe this is a travesty of justice.
But if you read the ruling for yourself (Civil Service Ruling), you will see who was really lying. Civil Service looked at ALL the evidence, not just the one-sided story told by the media.
They examined all the documents, and objectively heard testimony from witnesses on both sides. The truth is, the evidence showed it was Methuen officials lying, not Captain Gallant.
If you elect better leaders, stop swallowing what the media and political hacks feed you, and think for yourself instead of jumping on a bandwagon without all the facts, things like this won’t happen – and the taxpayer won’t be footing the bill the next Greg Gallant.
But all of that is up to you. ◊