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April 5, 2013

Councilor makes record request

Ciulla seeks city solicitor's email and phone records

METHUEN — A city councilor yesterday filed a public records request for city Solicitor Peter McQuillan’s phone and email records to investigate possible interference in the selection of a new solicitor.

Councilor Thomas Ciulla filed the request at City Hall yesterday asking specifically for McQuillan’s cell phone and office phone records, and his emails going back to Jan. 1. Ciulla said he has questions about McQuillan’s knowledge of a solicitor candidate’s reference rescinding his recommendation the day of the candidate’s interview.

”I want to see how he knew that letter was retracted, to see if there’s any paper trail,” Ciulla said. “We didn’t even know. There are too many unanswered questions. He had intimate knowledge.”

On Monday, The Eagle-Tribune filed a similar public records request, seeking McQuillan’s emails and cell and office phone records.

McQuillan sent a text message to the solicitor candidate, former Lawrence assistant city solicitor Richard D’Agostino, in the middle of the candidate’s interview before the City Council March 26 questioning D’Agostino’s comment that he did not know one of his references had rescinded his recommendation.

That has raised questions about whether McQuillan had contacted any of D’Agostino’s references, a list that includes local attorneys and a former judge.

Phone messages left on Monday and Tuesday with D’Agostino’s references seeking comment were not returned.

The City Council on Monday voted 5-4 against appointing D’Agostino, with members of the majority saying they felt the entire search process was flawed. They did not vote on the one other finalist, William Faraci. They unanimously voted to restart the search.

On Jan. 7, the council voted 5-4 against appointing McQuillan to another two-year term as city solicitor, citing his handling of several lawsuits against the city.

Follow Douglas Moser on Twitter @EagleEyeMoser. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

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