Police reserves

Reading the local paper is not good for your heart.

Today, front page, is an article entitled,”Still no new reserve police selections in Methuen “.

Quoting from the article,

Bowman noted that Lavigne testified at a previous hearing that police had a “business need” to pick 12 reserves, but almost three months after Bowman’s order came out, the city still hasn’t produced a new reserve list.

McQuillan noted that Methuen had a municipal election in which Manzi faced challenger Al DiNuccio after Bowman’s order came out.

The implication is that the Mayor was busy running for re-election and didn’t have time to obey the order.

The problem with this logic is that the Mayor only has to review, approve and submit to the City Council the names. The process, just like the original, is carried out by the Police Department and the Human Resources Director.

Since the process was concluded once, it should have been a simple matter to make the choices from the original list, as required by the Commission order and forward that to the Mayor.

Since the Mayor continued to conduct City business during the campaign, he could have accomplished his activity and have complied with the requirements set forth.

It would appear to me that Methuen wants to skirt the original order. They will do this by waiting for the new list to come out. They will, then,  specify 12 openings, get the 3 bands and make the selections based on a similar criteria that led them to the Commission order in the first place.

I have seen no activity that leads me to believe that the City has changed any of it’s policies regarding Civil Service hiring.

The Mayor appears to want time to wipe this incident from peoples memories and then next year, they can return to implementing lifetime doles for political friends.

I have advocated that the City ethics code be enforced. This would require WRITTEN notification of possible conflict of interest. None of this verbal, “I told my boss, isn’t that ok?”.

From the Municipal Code; CODE OF ETHICS

B. Definition

4) Personal InterestAny interest arising from blood or marriage relationships (wife, husband, mother, father, child,brother, sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law) or from business relationships (partners or corporate officers), whether or not any financial interest is involved.

D. Conflict of Interest – Financial or Personal Interest

No official or employee, either on his/her own behalf or any family member shall have any financial or personal interest in any business or transaction with any public body unless he/she shall first make full public disclosure of the nature and extent of such interest.

E. Disclosure and Disqualifications

Whenever the performance of his/her official duties shall require any official or employee to deliberate and vote on any matter involving his/her financial or personal interest, he/she shall publicly disclose the nature and extent of such interest and disqualify himself/herself from participating in the deliberation as well as in the voting.

J. Nepotism
No appointed or elected official shall appoint or vote for appointment of any person related to him/her by blood or marriage to any clerkship, office, position, employment or duty, when the salary, wages, pay or compensation is to be paid out of public funds.

The Code has been amended to include the following  (Chapter 4A. Additional Conflicts of Interest):

Section 4A-4A. Family Disclosure

All elected officials shall disclose, in a writing to the City Clerk, all family members, together with their annual wages, who hold a compensated position with the City during the elected official’s tenure of office. Family members shall have the same meaning as immediate family member as defined in Chapter 268A, Section 1, Massachusetts General Laws, and shall also mean all nieces, nephews and cousins of the first and second degree of said elected officials or elected official’s spouse.

B. Violations by Appointed Officials

A violation of this ordinance or Chapter 4 shall constitute good cause for removal under the provisions of Article 9, Section 9-10 of the Methuen Home Rule Charter. The Mayor shall, upon being notified of the potential of a violation of said Chapter 4 or this Chapter, immediately investigate such matter and take such action as may be appropriate and consistent with the above provisions.

No investigation occured, originally.

No one has stepped forth with legislation that would tighten the slight loophole. The loophole that does not explicitely state that all disclosures must be in writing.

Should they?

The City seems to feel that verbal is ok, but the overriding legislation is Massachusetts General Law.

Here is what that states. M.G.L. 268A;

Chapter 268A: Section 24. Disclosures and certifications; form; public inspection
Section 24. All disclosures and certifications provided for in this chapter and made in accordance with its provisions shall be made in writing and, unless otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, shall be kept open to inspection by the public by the official with whom such disclosure has been filed.

This small loophole in our Municipal Code should be closed.
We also need to correct the Veterans Preference. A seperate list only leads to errors. The job application for the City of Methuen should be redone. I recommend that the city copy the format from the State. I did not attach a copy but have a link here. this would put the information required on one form or series of forms and avoid the accidental overlooking of a seperate list.
Small changes can help Methuen comply with the Commission findings.
These have not been taken.
My guess is they won’t be. Though I always am an optimist.

admin posted at 2009-11-13 Category: Police

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