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Merrimack Valley

December 17, 2012

'Who authorized this appeal?'

METHUEN — The city has appealed a mid-November court ruling that awarded police Chief Joseph Solomon an additional $11,000 in lost wages, but multiple city councilors said they didn’t learn of the ruling or the appeal until just recently.

“Who authorized this appeal?” wrote Sean Fountain in a Dec. 11 email to fellow councilors. “Why are appeals on appeals being filed? Why are we continuing to fight a losing battle? Who is responsible? I do not understand why this continues to happen.”

Solomon was awarded an additional $11,619 by Judge Robert Cornetta on Nov. 13. That decision follows appeals to the initial superior court ruling in March that awarded the chief $48,000 in lost wages.

Solomon filed a civil lawsuit against the city in 2007, after city councilors slashed his pay by more than $25,000.

City Solicitor Peter McQuillan said he sent a memo to councilors Nov. 16 informing them of Cornetta’s ruling. The city then proceeded to file an appeal Dec. 7.

But multiple councilors interviewed last week said the memo was only sent to City Council Vice-chairwoman Joyce Campagnone. Those councilors said they didn’t learn of the ruling or the city’s appeal until Dec. 12 — one day after Fountain sent his email.

“We should be appraised of anything concerning this case,” said Councilor Lisa Ferry. “This is the business of the council.”

Campagnone did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

Councilor Jeanne Pappalardo said she first learned of the ruling and appeal from a city resident.

“Never heard anything,” Pappalardo said. “Joyce needs to explain why she never sent it to any of the councilors either. We need to get it all out in the open. This isn’t the first time.”

On Thursday, Councilor Tom Ciulla said he still had not seen McQuillan’s memo.

“We should have all received an email about what happened,” Ciulla said. “I don’t understand why there’s a communication breakdown. It seems to happen a lot.”

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