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March 8, 2014

Consentino comes under fire before election

Consentino on ballot in selectman's race Tuesday

ATKINSON — Former police chief Philip Consentino’s past has resurfaced as he makes a bid for the Board of Selectmen Tuesday.

Consentino, 73, was terminated as police chief and elderly affairs director on Feb. 27, 2013, “for cause.” Details about Consentino’s termination were sealed. But the former chief has been asked about it throughout his campaign.

He also has been the target of an anonymous, three-page letter reportedly being widely distributed in town, a letter listing 23 separate complaints about Consentino for behavior that allegedly occurred while he was police chief and elderly affairs director.

At a candidates’ forum Tuesday evening, resident Leon Artus asked Consentino and his opponent William Friel if either of them had been fired for cause from a town or political office because of a complaint from a female employee. There were audible groans from the audience when Artus asked his question.

“To answer your ongoing questions for a long period of time, I will answer it very clearly for you,” Consentino responded. “I am here tonight to answer any questions pertaining to the present way that the Board of Selectmen are being run and how it should be run in the future. If you have any questions on that, I will be more than happy to answer them for you.”

Resident Carol Grant then asked moderator Jim Garrity a follow-up question.

“Do you think it’s appropriate if someone has been fired for sexual harassment of a female in town that he should get away from answering it?” she said.

Consentino deflected that question, too.

“I’m not going to get into a discussion with you or anyone else on things that have happened in the past, because you do not have the facts,” Consentino said.

When reached yesterday, Consentino denied all allegations.

“I don’t know how any of that stuff has gotten out,” he said. “It’s all lies and I’m sick and tired of it.”

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