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March 25, 2013

Methuen settles Solomon's federal suit for $100K

METHUEN — A settlement has been reached in police Chief Joseph Solomon's federal lawsuit against the city that will pay him $100,001 plus legal costs.

The settlement was finalized today and brings to an end negotiations between Mayor Stephen Zanni and Solomon that began in April 2012.

Lawsuits between Solomon and city stem from the chief’s firing in 2008. The City Council also cut his $158,295 salary by $25,610 in 2007. Solomon returned as chief in 2010, after the state Civil Service Commission reduced his punishment to a one-year suspension. The city’s appeal of that decision was rejected by a judge in July.

The chief filed a federal suit in May 2011, accusing former Mayor William Manzi and the city of “unconstitutional and retaliatory actions” for “illegally” firing him. The city has filed counterclaims against Solomon to recoup nearly $200,000 it repaid to the federal government. The city claims the chief did not fulfill contractual duties in overseeing federal grants.

City councilors indemnified Manzi in September 2011, granting him personal legal protection in the suit because he acted “within the scope of his official duties” as mayor when he fired Solomon. Manzi served as mayor from 2006 to 2011.

Zanni recently hired the private law firm Murphy, Hess, Toomey and Lehane to represent the city and Manzi in the suit.

For more on this story, see tomorrow's Eagle-Tribune and eagletribune.com.

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