METHUEN — Longtime Department of Public Works employee Daniel Tulley has been promoted after suing Mayor James Jajuga.

The civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on July 27 accused Jajuga of withholding Tulley's promotion as retaliation for comments made by his stepson, City Councilor James McCarty.

Details of the settlement were not filed in court as of Friday. A spokesperson for Jajuga, however, said Tulley has been appointed to superintendent of building maintenance with a salary of $98,606. 

Tulley directed a reporter to his attorney, Leah Barrault, who did not return multiple requests for comment.

Tulley worked for Methuen as a maintenance foreman before the recent promotion. He earned $30,000 less per year than he does in the new role, according to the lawsuit. 

Besides the promotion and subsequent pay increase, Tulley's lawsuit demanded payment for financial losses including lost pay and benefits and attorney's fees. It was not immediately clear if the settlement awarded him those things.

The lawsuit argued that Tulley performed the duties of the higher paying job without the title, which he was told last year would become his.

The boost — and two other promotions of Department of Public Works employees — was supposed to happen July 1, 2018, the first day of the new fiscal year, according to the lawsuit.

But attention shifted to how to pay high-ranking police officers — including Jajuga's son, a police captain — whose union contracts included massive raises.

Jajuga and McCarty, among other city officials, disagreed about how to resolve the big money issue. 

Tulley's lawsuit described several times when Tulley's promotion was linked to McCarty's public statements and votes.

The lawsuit said Jajuga and an associate he hired as a consultant, Frank McCann, told Tulley he would be promoted if his stepson supported the mayor's positions on the superior officers' agreement. McCarty continued to oppose Jajuga.

Tulley said he approached Jajuga around October 2018 to ask why his promotion had still not happened.

"Jajuga replied that there was no reason to reward people who (expletive) on him," according to the lawsuit.

In October 2018, Tulley said McCann offered to take him for a drive, during which time Tulley was told his stepson would lose his next election if he didn't start changing his votes about police funding. Later that month, Tulley said McCann's wife, Andrea, told him a changed vote by McCarty could pay off to the tune of a $20,000 campaign fundraiser.

During a conversation between Tulley and Jajuga in late December, the lawsuit stated, "Jajuga indicated that his son would be hurt by the positions that McCarty was taking on the City Council and asked why he would reward people who (expletive) on him."

Tulley described becoming increasing frustrated in February. He said he found a security camera concealed in a box and recording in his office.

Tulley's office is underneath the Methuen Police Department. And according to the lawsuit, Chief Joseph Solomon had no knowledge of the camera being installed.

The complaint said the "camera was installed at the direction of Jajuga" through a private investigator.

"The camera was installed in retaliation for McCarty making public statements and taking public votes on political issues that are in opposition to Jajuga's positions on those issues," it stated.

While he awaited promotion, Tulley said two other Methuen Public Works employees were named superintendent, in May 2019. Tulley said one unfilled superintendent position, as of the time his lawsuit was filed, was the one promised to him.

 

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