EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 29, 2014

Suspended county attorney invited to budget meeting

Delegation asks suspended attorney to speak

(Continued)

Reams said yesterday he just did what he was asked to do as an elected official.

“I got called by the legislative delegation over the weekend and asked if I could come and comment on Monday,” Reams said. “I downloaded the budget and made some comments.”

Weyler said Reams was able to answer questions on several budget issues, including a high turnover rate in the office.

“It was a very productive meeting,” Weyler said.

County commissioners said they were shocked to learn the same man they suspended was answering questions about a budget that Boffetti presented to delegation members Thursday.

“It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” commission Chairman Katharin Pratt said. “I didn’t know what the intention was and I didn’t know what the reason was.”

Pratt, the commission’s representative, said she went to the meeting Monday morning and was surprised to learn it had been moved.

She was even more surprised to find Reams, not Boffetti, answering questions. The issue of why Reams was there was not raised at the meeting, she said.

“It seemed to be a foregone conclusion,” she said.

County Commissioners Kevin Coyle and Thomas Tombarello were angry to later learn that Reams was invited to the meeting and Boffetti was told it was canceled.

Coyle criticized Weyler and Waterhouse, who could not be reached for comment.

“They seem to be running this budget process and have run amok,” he said. “They have appointed themselves as czars of the budget.”

Coyle, who has run against Reams for county attorney in the past, was also critical of the suspended administrator. He said Reams should not have attended the meeting.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” Coyle said. “He should have known better.”

Tombarello agreed, saying he wants answers.

“I was really surprised,” he said. “I want to know what happened.”

Associate Attorney General Jane Young, who has said Reams is the target of a criminal investigation, declined yesterday to comment on whether Reams should have been allowed to participate in the meeting. She did say Foster only revoked Reams’ authority as a prosecutor.

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