Inspector General Points Fingers in Methuen Over Police Contract; Notes ‘Failure of Leadership’

Methuen Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon. (Courtesy photograph.)

Updated.

The Massachusetts Inspector General concluded Wednesday there was a “failure of leadership at all levels” in Methuen when a police contract was approved that allowed substantial raises.

The Massachusetts Inspector General concluded Wednesday there was a “failure of leadership at all levels” in Methuen when a police contract was approved that allowed substantial raises.

Fallout from the report came quickly with Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon and Capt. Gregory Gallant being placed on paid administrative leave by Mayor Neil Perry. Executive Capt. Kristopher McCarthy was named acting chief of police and Lt. Randy Haggar was named captain of Field Operations.

Perry said he took the actions after speaking with the Office of the Inspector General Wednesday and after he received the report Wednesday at 2:42 p.m.

“As this is a personnel matter, there is much we cannot discuss at this time,” Perry said. “This matter will be handled with all appropriate due diligence, transparency and professionalism.”

Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha noted specifically that former Mayor Stephen Zanni “agreed to unprecedented changes to the Superiors’ Contract without understanding their financial impact;” Gallant, Methuen Police Superior Officers’ Association president, drafted the final contract and added language that had never been agreed to by City officials;” and Solomon was aware of the unapproved language and failed to tell his colleagues on the city’s negotiating team.

“Solomon represented the City in contract negotiations with both the superiors’ union and the patrol officers’ union despite the fact that his employment contract tied his compensation to both of those contracts,” Cunha’s office wrote, adding, the language “indirectly—but substantially—increased Solomon’s compensation.” Solomon is now reportedly one of the highest paid police chiefs in the country.

Cunha further noted “Solomon remained silent about this change even after the financial impact of the superiors’ contract came to light and “even after the City was facing a serious budget shortfall.”

Methuen City Councilor Jessica Finocchiaro called for action against officials on social media, saying “What I and many others have said since 2018 still rings true - every single person who had a hand in deceiving the Methuen taxpayers with this terrible act needs to be held accountable.”

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