EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 27, 2013

Finalist blames 'corrupt mayor' for firing in Lawrence

D'Agostino, Faraci interviewed by City Council

METHUEN — Richard D’Agostino told city councilors last night that corrupt politics led to his firing in Lawrence last year and that he is now the target of an “unfortunate whisper campaign” as he vies to become Methuen’s next city solicitor.

The City Council will soon appoint either D’Agostino or fellow solicitor finalist William Faraci to the city’s top legal post. Councilors interviewed both candidates last night at City Hall and then voted 5 to 4 to proceed with a deciding vote Monday night.

D’Agostino, 58, of Salem, N.H., is the former assistant city solicitor in Lawrence. He was fired in April 2012 after returning from 16 months of medical leave. Last night, D’Agostino wasted little time addressing the “baggage” from his prior job.

“If the baggage is that I stood up to a corrupt mayor ... then I’ll carry that baggage with honor,” said D’Agostino. “My record is impeccable and I’ll stand behind it.”

D’Agostino told councilors he will put politics aside as their solicitor and make decisions based on the law. D’Agostino said he “paid for that dearly” in Lawrence and was ultimately fired for taking such stands.

Following his firing, D’Agostino sued Lawrence in an effort to get his job back and collect $300,000 in damages, or the estimated balance of his work contract with the city. D’Agostino referred to the ongoing suit last night as “the other 600 lb. elephant in the room.”

He told councilors that if he wasn’t willing to stand up for his rights at his old job, he couldn’t come before them and say he’ll be willing to stick up for Methuen taxpayers.

“Someone needs to stand up and at least say, ‘No,’ to the reign of terror that’s gone on in Lawrence,” said D’Agostino.

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