METHUEN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Some city councilors in Methuen are calling on state agencies to investigate the city's police department, amid allegations of sky-high salaries, bribes for employment and toxic work environments.
Methuen City Councilor-at-Large DJ Beauregard said in a post on Facebook on Wednesday that he wants offices like Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to take a look into the department and allegations of favoritism.
"The following agencies are spineless and gutless when it comes to addressing blatant corruption that occurs right under their noses," Beauregard said. "This city has been under siege for years and the message up to this point has been, 'we don’t want to get involved. you’re on your own.'"
The Boston Globe reported on Monday that Methuen Police Chief Joe Soloman allegedly handed out "extraordinary favors" like employment opportunities and promotions to members of the city council or their relatives after the council approved a contract for his salary, which is one of the highest in the nation for a law enforcement officer.
However Chief Solomon tells WBZ's Karyn Regal that he is running the department under the rules of the Methuen City Charter, which means he can't hire or fire any employees.
"All hiring by city charter is at the authority of the mayor," Soloman said.
He added that for his hiring, the city council unanimously passed special legislation in the form of a home rule petition around 2015, that was approved by the mayor and then passed through the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
City Councilor Steve Saba said the city is currently conducting an audit on the department, and the Inspector General is expected to issue a report soon to the city council and Mayor Neil Perry.
"Up until this point, there really hasn't been any desire on the part of these agencies, at least on the outside, to take any action to do anything about it," Saba said.
Saba said that despite the allegations, the city should still feel safe with their current police department.
"For the most part [they are] very very responsible, very very reliable and dependable," he said.
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports.