EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

May 2, 2014

Selectmen:Police chief threatened, bullied us

Gorski drama opened divide between police and town leaders, drove Darke, Greaney from office

BOSTON — Groveland Selectman Donald Greaney and former Selectman William Darke said they were bullied and threatened by police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz into giving him a new, three-year contract.

When the selectmen wavered from that course in early 2012 and suggested they might hire a company to review the police chief’s performance before giving new contracts to Kirmelewicz and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen, Darke and Greaney said Kirmelewicz threatened to file an ethics complaint against them. Kirmelewicz ultimately filed ethics complaints against both selectmen, but an investigation by the commission cleared the men.

“The chief said, ‘Bette’s in trouble and the same thing could happen to you,’ “ Darke testified yesterday — the second day of Groveland Selectman Elizabeth Gorski’s hearing on conflict-of-interest charges before the state Ethics Commission.

Greaney said Kirmelewicz called him on March 5, 2012, and said his lawyer advised him to contact the “more reasonable selectman.”

“The chief told me that if I didn’t renew his contract, bad things were going to happen to me and Bill (Darke),” Greaney said. “He gave me an ultimatum that if I didn’t do what he wanted, all this was going to happen,” Greaney said, looking around the commission’s Boston hearing room.

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 Gillen if they failed to restore Eric Gorski to active duty.

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