Methuen City Council Returns $1.2M to Budget to Avoid Police Layoffs

(Courtesy of the Methuen Police Department.)

The City of Methuen plans to rescind the 50 pink slips issued to police department personnel last month now that the City Council has voted to return $1.2 million to the police budget.

As a result of the last-minute Council vote, widespread layoffs expected to begin in March will now be avoided. Thursday’s meeting took place less than a week after the Massachusetts Inspector General’s office released a statement that said former mayor Stephen Zanni’s administration likely violated state laws while negotiating the superior officers’ union contract.

In doing so, the city contingent “neglected their obligations as public officials to exercise care and due diligence on behalf of Methuen’s residents,” the report said.

The Inspector General said the contracts—that would boost the average salary for a police captain more than 180 percent from the prior contract, for example—should be voided. The report also urged the state ethics commission to offer insight.