EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 7, 2013

Methuen solicitor to step down

(Continued)

Fountain declined comment afterward.

“Very unnecessary,” said Councilor Ron Marsan on Ciulla’s dustpan. “My chairman just explained the process of what was going to happen moving forward.”

“It’s not worth commenting on,” added Councilor Michael Condon, who was left shaking his head in disagreement. “It wasn’t a nice way to end (the meeting).”

The search for McQuillan’s replacement was hampered by numerous problems, including a Feb. 6 meeting held in violation of the state Open Meeting Law. Between six and eight solicitor candidates were interviewed at the secret meeting.

Two of four finalists for the job then dropped out of the running within days of their names being made public on Feb. 26.

One month later, on March 26, McQuillan sent a text message to solicitor finalist Richard D’Agostino while D’Agostino was interviewing for the job with the City Council. News of the text message to D’Agostino prompted calls for an investigation. The Eagle-Tribune also requested and obtained McQuillan’s phone and email records, but not before McQuillan reviewed and redacted them.

A motion to appoint D’Agostino to a two-year term as solicitor was defeated 5 to 4 on April 1.

Citing McQuillan’s text message to D’Agostino, Councilor Jeanne Pappalardo last night said McQuillan should be removed from his job.

“We have cause to remove Mr. McQuillan,” said Pappalardo. “There’s unethical behavior ... He shot himself in the foot by texting.”

Fountain urged Pappalardo to refrain from making comments about McQuillan.

“I think that’s crossing some boundaries,” said Fountain.

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