Gagliardi said he got involved in the selection process because his union has regular interactions with the city solicitor. Gagliardi denied ever threatening Kannan or Atkinson, but said he did tell them both that the union would not be supporting them in the upcoming election.
“Certainly there were conversations,” said Gagliardi. “If there were threats they should report them to police.”
The three other councilors to vote against D’Agostino’s appointment — Jeanne Pappalardo, Lisa Ferry and Ron Marsan — each said yesterday they had no conversations with Gagliardi before the vote, although Marsan said Gagliardi sent an email to multiple councilors.
“It said to consider D’Agostino as a candidate,” Marsan said.
Atkinson said Gagliardi called him at least five times in one day leading up to the April 1 vote.
“He shouldn’t have had a horse in the race,” Atkinson said. “He shouldn’t have been involved at all. He was involved quite a bit and I don’t know what his motive was, except he’s friends with Mr. D’Agostino.”
One day after the vote, Gagliardi filed an Open Meeting Law complaint with the state Attorney General’s office against Kannan, Atkinson and Ferry. The three councilors met at a local Starbucks two days before the solicitor vote. Though five councilors are required for a quorum, Gagliardi said the meeting violated the “spirit and intent” of the Open Meeting Law.
Gagliardi has also targeted current City Solicitor Peter McQuillan. Councilors on Jan. 7 voted against reappointing McQuillan to a two-year term, but he has retained his post as Methuen’s top lawyer as the City Council works to find a replacement.
On April 19, Gagliardi filed a complaint against McQuillan with the state Ethics Commission.
In his complaint, Gagliardi claims McQuillan “clearly interfered” with the process to find his replacement by contacting D’Agostino’s professional references and asking them to withdraw their letters of recommendation, and by attempting to send a text message to a city councilor during D’Agostino’s March 26 job interview with the City Council.