EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

May 1, 2014

Selectman made threats, police testify

At ethics hearing, chief and deputy say Gorski tried to help son

BOSTON — Many of Groveland’s best-known people were there.

Most of the Groveland police force and two of the town’s selectmen were among 15 or so witnesses who crammed into Ethics Commission meeting rooms and hallways yesterday. They were there to testify in the long-running political feud between Groveland Selectman Elizabeth Gorski and police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz. The Georgetown police chief was also there.

The state Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division has charged Gorski, 73, with violating multiple conflict-of-interest laws by using her elected position to try to get her police officer son Eric Gorski restored to active duty after Kirmelewicz placed him on paid administrative leave in November 2011. A short time after that, the chief changed Eric Gorski’s leave status, requiring the patrolman to use sick time to keep his paychecks coming.

A 2013 report by the Enforcement Division alleges that Gorski threatened the employment of Kirmelewicz and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen if they failed to restore Eric Gorski to active duty.

Eric Gorski, a Groveland police officer since 1997, returned to work from sick leave in July 2012. His original suspension was for a “fitness for duty evaluation,” according to town officials, but they have refused to provide more information about that part of the case. Eric Gorski, who attended yesterday’s hearing, is currently one of nine full-time officers in the department.

During yesterday’s hearing Mark Smith, Elizabeth Gorski’s lawyer, said Kirmelewicz filed his ethics complaint against her when he realized the town’s Board of Selectmen did not intend to “rubber stamp” his new contract in 2012. Kirmelewicz testified yesterday that he also took his allegations against Gorski to Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, but that Blodgett declined to file criminal charges against her.

Smith said Kirmelewicz also threatened to file an ethics complaint against Selectman Donald Greaney and possibly other town officials if his contract was not renewed.

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