Report: Methuen Should Take Legal Action Against Former Police Chief

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METHUEN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has recommended legal action against Former Methuen Police Chief, Joseph Soloman, after he allegedly knowingly allowed under-qualified people to work in full-time police officer positions for years.

The new 43-page report said the Commission recommended the city of Methuen to "explore legal action against Joseph Solomon, as well as Sean Fountain," the former Chair of Methuen City Council.

"It is inconceivable that a public employee could completely evade accountability for such misconduct by simply filing for retirement benefits. Nor should Sean Fountain be permitted to avoid accountability for his misconduct," the report said.

The investigation found that Soloman had disregarded civil service law by hiring non-civil service officers for full-time civil service roles they did not qualify for. While Methuen does allow for "limited" use of non-civil service officers, the report said, "Chief Solomon ignored key restrictions on such appointments, including a provision that limited the use of such appointments to situations where incumbent civil service police officers and civil service reserve police officers were not available to perform assigned duties."

City records showed that the city of Methuen allegedly paid more than $1.5 million to seven officers who were working in full-time positions they were untrained to do, the Commission said.

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The Commission also wrote in its report that Soloman had employed Fountain as a “full-time permanent intermittent police officer” when he didn't have the qualifications to perform the job's duties. The report wrote that Fountain was, "never certified by the state’s Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) to serve as a full-time police officer, nor was he eligible for a waiver; there is no evidence that he ever completed a physical or medical examination; he was over the City’s own age restriction of thirty-five at the time of appointment; and, after beginning his employment, he resided outside of Methuen, also in violation of City policies."

The Commission referred to Fountain's employment as the "most brazen example of abuse which occurred (in plain sight) over a period of years."

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