EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 27, 2013

Solicitor-finalist blames 'corrupt mayor' for firing in Lawrence

D'Agostino, Faraci interviewed by City Council

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Faraci said it will take him time to get familiar with “the culture of Methuen,” but being an outsider will help him provide sound legal advice.

“You need somebody that isn’t so tied to any group here,” said Faraci. “I can exercise independent judgement.”

When asked about potential time constraints given that he operates a private law firm, Faraci said he would “farm out” any work requiring litigation and cease taking on new cases. “But I’m still going to be doing my mother-in-law’s taxes,” he joked.

The search for a new city solicitor was triggered Jan. 7 when councilors voted 5 to 4 against reappointing City Solicitor Peter McQuillan to a two-year term. McQuillan will remain on the job until the council names his successor.

Twelve people applied for the job, which will pay between $87,390 and $113,144 per year. Between six and eight candidates were interviewed at a secret meeting Feb. 6, a violation of the state Open Meeting Law.

Councilor Jeanne Pappalardo cited the Open Meeting Law violation last night before voting against moving forward with a deciding vote Monday. Were the motion defeated, the solicitor search would have been reopened to attract new applicants.

“I would like to go out for a new search,” said Pappalardo. “I think it’s the cleanest way to go. I think the process was flawed.”

Voting in the minority alongside Pappalardo were councilors Jamie Atkinson, Joyce Campagnone and Lisa Ferry. Atkinson said he will also put forward a motion on Monday to reappoint McQuillan.

During his interview, D’Agostino was told by Atkinson that one of his work references, Assistant Clerk Magistrate Andrew Gradzewicz, had officially rescinded his endorsement in a letter dated yesterday. No reason was given in the letter, which Atkinson read aloud.

“This is news to me,” said D’Agostino, who said he’s known Gradzewicz for 40 years.

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