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March 25, 2013

Solicitor candidate denies early interview

D'Agostino pens thank-you letter to council prior to start of search

METHUEN — The applications for city solicitor were still coming in and supposed to be under seal, but finalist Richard D’Agostino had already penned a letter thanking some city councilors for his interview, documents show.

“I truly appreciate the time, interest and courtesy extended to me during the interview and am honored to have been chosen to advance to the next phase of the interview process,” wrote D’Agostino in a letter dated Jan. 22 to City Council Chairman Sean Fountain. Applicants had until Jan. 25 to apply.

But D’Agostino last night insisted that the first time he met with any members of the search committee was Feb. 6, when applicants were interviewed during a secret session at local lawyer Arthur Broadhurst’s downtown law office.

“I had one interview in the office of Attorney Broadhurst,” said D’Agostino. “This is all much ado about nothing.”

D’Agostino, who was fired as assistant city solicitor in Lawrence, is one of two remaining finalists for Methuen’s top legal post. He and William Faraci of Haverhill will be interviewed in public by the full City Council tomorrow night at City Hall.

Two other finalists, Kerry Anderson and Robin Stein, abruptly dropped out of the running just days after their names were made public.

Last night, D’Agostino said his letter to Fountain was written March 5 but he inadvertently included the wrong date. The letter dated Jan. 22 to Fountain thanks him “and the selection committee for the opportunity to present myself for review and evaluation.”

D’Agostino said he wrote an original cover letter in response to the solicitor job opening on Jan. 22. He then used the original letter as a template to write the March 5 letter, but never changed the date, he said.

“It was an innocent mistake,” said D’Agostino.

Fountain did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

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