EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 30, 2014

Groveland officialfaces ethics charge

Gorski's conflict-of-interest hearing begins today

GROVELAND — The state is holding a hearing today on allegations that Selectman Elizabeth Gorski violated conflict-of-interest laws by using her elected position to try to get her police officer son restored to active duty.

Her efforts allegedly came after the town’s police chief placed Gorski’s son on paid administrative leave in November 2011.

A 2013 report by the state Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division also alleges that Gorski threatened the employment of police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen if they did not restore her son, patrolman Eric Gorski, to active duty.

Eric Gorski, a Groveland police officer since 1997, returned to work from sick leave in July 2012. He is currently one of nine full-time officers in the department.

Kirmelewicz has declined comment on the case, but said he, Gillen and five other Groveland officers have been called to testify at today’s hearing, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the commission’s Ashburton Place office in Boston. Additional hearing dates have been scheduled for Friday and Monday at the Statehouse.

Gorski has about a year remaining in her fifth consecutive three-year term on the town’s Board of Selectmen.

The commission’s power is limited to imposing fines that are typically payable to the commission or an aggrieved party, a spokeswoman for the commission said. In some instances, the commission can refer cases to other agencies for criminal charges, the spokeswoman said.

The enforcement division’s March 2013 ruling, essentially a charging document, said Gorski “called and visited (Gillen) to discuss her son’s situation, indicating she wanted the deputy chief to have her son restored to active duty.” One of those conversations took place while Gillen was at a local restaurant, the ruling said.

“On a least two of those occasions, Gorski made reference to the chief’s and deputy chief’s employment contracts coming up for renewal by the board of selectman,” the ruling said.

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