Methuen Officials Join In Call For Federal and State Expansion of Past Police Dept. Corruption

Methuen Police Station. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Methuen officials came together Wednesday with a no holds barred request for “immediate, cooperative and comprehensive” federal and state expansion of the investigation into alleged Methuen Police Department corruption.

Mayor Neil Perry, City Council Chair Eunice D. Zeigler, Vice Chair Joel P. Faretra and the rest of the Council asked from help from U.S. Attorney Rachel S. Rollins, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell, state Auditor Diana DiZoglio, Essex County District Attorney Paul Tucker and the heads of the inspector general’s office, Ethics Commission and Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission.

“We are unapologetically blunt and united in our call for review and action by your respective offices. For years, Methuen has regrettably suffered from conscience-shocking behavior by selected persons previously entrusted with the public fisc and public safety in our city,” the leaders wrote.

They added a report by Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha released in December 2020 and state Civil Service Commission review released this past January “collectively detail clear wrongdoing that (i) imperiled city finances through unsustainable compensation increases resulting from subterfuge, and (ii) harmed public safety through threatened police layoffs and the violation of merit principles and credentialing laws pertaining to police hiring.”

As WHAV reported, Cunha’s conclusion of “failure of leadership at all levels” led to Perry placing former Chief Joseph E. Solomon and Capt. Gregory Gallant on paid administrative leave. The Civil Service Commission wrote Solomon’s “use of a former city council chairman as a full-time police officer is a “most brazen example of abuse which occurred (in plain sight)” of using non-civil service personnel in the department.

Privately, Methuen officials lambasted a court-aided coverup so far of a city-paid investigation that led to criminal charges being filed in Lawrence District Court against former Methuen City Councilor and Intermittent Police Officer Sean Fountain. Publicly, though, the letter suggests a level of frustration, saying, “Although the MPD’s reporting is impounded, our voices will not be silenced.”

That report, however, was apparently leaked to a Boston newspaper that described the report as being authored by Lawrence Smith of the STIRM Group.

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