Solomon wants city Civil Service appeal thrown out

By Brian Messenger | Eagle Tribune

METHUEN — Lawyers for Joseph Solomon have filed a motion to throw out the city’s appeal of the state Civil Service Commission decision that cleared his return as police chief.

Solomon was fired in 2008 but returned to work last fall, after the commission reduced his termination to a one-year suspension. Methuen appealed the decision in Lawrence Superior Court in August of last year.

But last week, attorneys Andrew Gambaccini and John Vigliotti filed a motion on Solomon’s behalf to dismiss the case.

Gambaccini and Vigliotti filed the motion based on the city’s “complete failure to prosecute this action to the detriment” of Solomon and the commission, according to the motion.

Solomon’s lawyers claim the city has repeatedly failed to serve its motion for judgment in the appeal, after missing two self-imposed deadlines to do so in January and May.

“As a result of the city’s abandonment of its duty to prosecute this case, the defendants have been prejudiced and this court’s ability to manage its docket efficiently has been impacted adversely,” the motion reads.

In addition having the appeal dismissed, Gambaccini and Vigliotti are requesting that Solomon be awarded attorney fees and costs connected to the case.

City Solicitor Peter McQuillan and attorney David Grunebaum, a private labor lawyer hired by Methuen for this case, filed the city’s appeal on Aug. 25, 2010.

On Friday, McQuillan dismissed Gambaccini and Vigliotti’s motion in a phone interview.

“There’s no multiple delays and there’s no failure to prosecute,” said McQuillan. “It will be filed accordingly.”

Mayor William Manzi fired Solomon in May 2008, claiming Solomon verbally abused officers, misspent grant money and broke state law by using taxpayer money to buy marine equipment from his sister and brother-in-law. Solomon appealed to civil service, and the commission determined the city failed to prove its case, allowing Solomon to return to his job in October 2010.

In its appeal, the city claims the Civil Service Commission was in excess of its authority when it reduced Solomon’s firing to a suspension.

The appeal also claims the commission’s decision was “based upon an error of law” and not supported by substantial evidence, among other failures.

Solomon has also sued the city and Manzi in federal court to ensure he keeps his job and to get his old $158,295 salary back.

City councilors cut his salary by $25,610 in 2007.

Solomon has also sued the city over his pay cut in Lawrence Superior Court. A trial date is set for Oct. 25.

If you are a member of the Massachusetts Police Association Legal Defense Fund and in need of an attorney to defend your rights, contact the Massachusetts legal defense attorneys at Reardon, Joyce, & Akerson for an initial consultation.

Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, PC
Massachusetts Police Defense Attorneys
4 Lancaster Terrace
Worcester, MA 01609

Telephone (508) 754-7285 • Fax (508) 754-7220