EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 26, 2013

Deal or no deal?

METHUEN — Police Chief Joseph Solomon says he’s reached a legal settlement with Mayor Stephen Zanni — a claim the mayor denies.

Solomon told The Eagle-Tribune yesterday afternoon that he and Zanni agreed to settlement terms on Friday.

“I shook his hand on Friday on a compromise deal,” said Solomon. “I think it’s in the best interest of all parties, including the City of Methuen, that we move forward.”

Zanni responded yesterday by saying that while talks with the chief have progressed, the sides have yet to finalize a deal.

“I would say we got closer,” said Zanni. “There’s no signed document. I shook his hand. We’re getting closer, but I didn’t agree to anything.”

Zanni was scheduled to discuss settlement talks last night with the City Council in a closed-door executive session. The city and Solomon are also slated to appear in federal court today to update Judge Mark Wolf on the status of negotiations.

Hours before yesterday’s executive session, Zanni said he planned to present city councilors with both his latest settlement offer to Solomon and the chief’s counter offer, which the mayor said he received yesterday morning.

“My plan is to give councilors both proposals and see where they want to go with it,” said Zanni.

The executive session was scheduled to take place inside the city solicitor’s office at City Hall. No vote on the settlement was expected because the City Council was not scheduled to reconvene in open session after the meeting.

When asked yesterday about Zanni’s denial that a deal has been reached, Solomon said: “That’s inaccurate, because I sat in the room and shook the man’s hand. I don’t understand how he could say that.”

Solomon also declined to comment on any details of the alleged agreement.

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