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It is warm and sunny today in Ashland. I believe it to be 4:22pm at the time I am writing this and I believe people actually live there as well. Oh yeah, somebody sneezed today in Ashland.

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Southside @ 6/24/2004 4:23:35 PM said:
It is warm and sunny today in Ashland. I believe it to be 4:22pm at the time I am writing this and I believe people actually live there as well. Oh yeah, somebody sneezed today in Ashland.
Well I guess that was an open ended question....

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1,146 Posts
Town faces lawsuit over termination: Police chief, manager also targeted in complaint by former auxiliary officer
By David McLaughlin / News Staff Writer
Friday, June 25, 2004

ASHLAND -- A former volunteer with the town's auxiliary police is suing the town and the police chief, charging he was wrongfully terminated and that the chief illegally seized the auxiliary's records and money.

The lawsuit is the latest police department controversy to surface in recent days. The police union is fighting the firing last week of a sergeant accused of violating department regulations following remarks he made to a state police employee. Police Chief Roy Melnick, meanwhile, is being accused of making derogatory remarks about an officer and a former dispatcher.

Robert Stetson, a former Ashland resident who served with the auxiliary police from 1998 to 2002, said Melnick illegally kicked him off the volunteer force in November 2002. The chief, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, fired Stetson after accusing him of lying in an application to the state police for a private detective's license.

"I'm just totally baffled. I just don't understand how (the chief) could go forward with what he's done without regard for the law or procedures," Stetson said yesterday. "(The town) stalled and ignored me, and there's no sense of justice there."

Stetson has leveled a host of charges against Melnick, the town and former Town Manager Dexter Blois in his lawsuit, which was filed in Worcester Superior Court in December 2003. The suit accuses the chief and Blois, who also could not be reached for comment yesterday, of character defamation and violating Stetson's due process by firing him without a hearing.

The chief is also being accused of witness tampering. According to Stetson's lawyer, Diane Caggiano, Melnick said during a meeting with her and Stetson after Stetson was fired "that when he got through with our witnesses, they wouldn't say what we thought they would say."

Interim Town Manager Dale Morris declined comment on the lawsuit.

Stetson was kicked off the auxiliary police, a volunteer group made up of 10 people, after he applied to the state police for a private detective license. Stetson wrote in the application he had been working with the police department's Internet investigation unit and included letters of recommendation from two Ashland police officers.

In a November 2002 letter, Melnick accused Stetson of lying on the application because Stetson wrote he had worked on the Internet unit for more than three years as an employee and conducted investigations "to uncover evidence of criminal wrongdoing." Blois then fired Stetson, according to documents filed with the lawsuit.

"These representations are not only false, but if made under oath constitutes a criminal offense should the Massachusetts State Police decide to prosecute these as such," Melnick wrote.

Stetson denies lying on the application and says he can prove he told the truth.

"(Melnick) was motivated in part by personal dislike rather than objective review of Stetson's conduct," Caggiano said.

One of the Ashland officers who was part of the Internet investigation team, Charlie Garbarino, said yesterday he worked with Stetson for two or three years on investigations. Garbarino said he thinks the accusation of witness tampering by the chief is "a definite threat" against him because he worked on the Internet team.

Melnick has accused several officers, including Garbarino and Stetson, of conspiring to get him fired.

Because the Ashland Auxiliary Police is an independent, legally established corporation, Stetson said Melnick did not have a right to fire him. Stetson also accused the chief of seizing all the corporation's documents and about $1,260 belonging to the group.

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The story posted above is not the only issue. A Sergeant was fired for an off the cuff comment. As distasteful as it may have been, even the persons present were able to get past it. The Chief seems to have used the event to remove the officer with little regard to his own indiscretions. I hope the Chief was able to purge himself because there is a lot of crow about to be served.

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Oh My GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Cop claims chief wants him fired
By David McLaughlin / News Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

ASHLAND -- Two months after the town fired a longtime police officer, a second officer whom the police chief has accused of conspiring against him may lose his job.

Patrolman Charles Garbarino said Chief Roy Melnick has recommended that the town fire him. In June, Sgt. Roy Testa was fired following racially tinged remarks he made to a state police employee.

Garbarino, a staunch critic of the chief, said yesterday that he did nothing wrong and that Melnick is out to get him. This year, he filed a complaint against Melnick for calling a former dispatcher his "token Jew" and a former detective his "token Jew" and his "token black."

"I stood up for my Jewish brothers. I'm proud of it, and I'd do it again," he said. "I won't look the other way."

The former Ashland detective who filed a complaint against Melnick, Matt Gutwill, just transferred to the Framingham Police Department.

Melnick has accused a core group of police officers, including Garbarino, Testa and Gutwill, of conspiring against him. The chief yesterday declined to comment on his recommendation about Garbarino, citing personnel rules, but he denied targeting Garbarino or any other officer.

The accusations against Testa, the chief said, surfaced after the state police contacted the Ashland Police Department. And Gutwill, Melnick said, has always wanted to be a Framingham officer and twice applied for a job in the department.

The chief described the 53-year-old Garbarino as a "dinosaur" who has refused to adapt to change in the department.

"The only dinosaur that doesn't like the change is Charlie Garbarino. You've got to adapt, and if you don't adapt you become extinct," Melnick said.

According to Garbarino, he is accused of "larceny by false pretenses" following overtime pay that he requested. His case will go before a disciplinary hearing, possibly next month. The hearing will result in a recommendation about whether Garbarino should be disciplined. Interim Town Manager Dale Morris will make the final decision.

Garbarino said he will request that the hearing be made public. He expects he will eventually be vindicated, but expects that Morris will follow the chief's recommendation and fire him.

"I can't trust that anybody at this hearing is going to be impartial," he said.

Morris declined comment, citing personnel matters.

In June, Garbarino said, Melnick ordered him to answer 15 questions related to a lawsuit filed by former Ashland Auxiliary Police Officer Bob Stetson.

Stetson, who worked with Garbarino on Internet-related investigations, is suing Melnick and the town in Worcester Superior Court for wrongful termination and illegal seizure of the auxiliary's records and money.

Garbarino said he came to the station on his day off to finish his work on Melnick's questions. He said he could only answer the questions while off duty at his home because he needed to use his personal computer. The police union's contract, he said, requires the department to pay an officer four hours of overtime whenever he or she comes to work on their day off.

Garbarino requested the extra pay, but Melnick denied it at the end of June. At the beginning of August, he said, sergeants Steve Zanella and Dave Whitney told him they were conducting an internal investigation because Melnick had filed a complaint against him. Garbarino wrote a nine-page response and was tape-recorded for 55 minutes by Ashland police.

Whitney and Zanella also directed the internal investigation into the "token Jew" and "token black" remarks Melnick made. The investigation has not been completed.

On Aug. 16, Garbarino said Zanella hand-delivered a letter to his home written by Morris. The letter asked Garbarino to appear Aug. 20 for a disciplinary hearing that was later canceled and will be rescheduled. The letter, according to Garbarino, stated he was accused of conduct unbecoming a police officer, filing a false report and untruthfulness.

Posted Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:56 am:

Melnick report delayed: Document needs more work, says town manager
By David McLaughlin / News Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

ASHLAND -- The investigation into disparaging remarks made by the police chief about his employees will not be completed for two more weeks because one of the complainants has agreed to talk to police.

Alan Glickman, a former dispatcher who has accused Police Chief Roy Melnick of referring to him as "my token Jew," said yesterday he will talk to police within two weeks for the first time in the investigation.

"I definitely do want to cooperate," he said.

The town announced last month that the police department's internal investigation into complaints filed against Melnick was finished. According to Melnick, the two police officers who directed the investigation determined the complaints were "unfounded" and Interim Town Manager Dale Morris upheld their finding.

Neither Glickman nor former Ashland police officer Matt Gutwill, who also filed a complaint against the chief, talked with the two officers who conducted the investigation. Gutwill has accused the chief of calling him his "token Jew" and his "token black."

Morris said last week the investigation's final report required more work, though he declined to say exactly what had to be done. Yesterday, again without explaining why, he said the investigation would require an additional two weeks.

"The housekeeping issues that need to be done are taking more time than I thought," he said.

Glickman confirmed that the delay was the result of his agreement to talk to police.

Melnick, who has apologized publicly for the remarks, accused of Glickman, Gutwill and a third officer who filed a complaint, Charles Garbarino, of not cooperating with the investigation. Glickman said he was "never given an opportunity" to speak with police.

The dispatcher said he was contacted by Sgt. Steve Zanella the day before the July 4 weekend about the investigation. A day before that, he said, he received a letter from Morris telling him that he should only talk to the town manager about the complaint.

Glickman said he told Zanella that before he met with police, he wanted to clear up the confusion about whom he could speak with, but he never received another call.

Zanella could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Morris said he told Glickman he could speak with police.

Morris declined to say whether the results of the investigation would change once police spoke with Glickman, who filed his complaint in June and has also accused the chief of removing documents from his personnel file.

"Once we get this issue resolved, we'll take the necessary action at the time," Morris said.

Garbarino, who the chief has recommended be fired, said the town should have tapped an outside agency to investigate the complaints. He has often criticized the fact that two police officers investigated their boss.

"It wouldn't have been secretive. It would have been done with impartiality, and it would have been a thorough job," Garbarino said.

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2,273 Posts
My question is if Chief Melnick is that paranoid why did he leave his post to go to Iraq, not once but twice. A chief of a police department who leaves / abandons his officers and the citizens of the town he works for, for fame and ego should be relieved of his tittle. apparently this guy has issues. :shock: :up:

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Probe notes to be made public: Ashland records should provide details on why sergeant was fired by chief
By David McLaughlin / News Staff Writer
Saturday, September 11, 2004

ASHLAND -- The town will release documents from the police department's internal investigation that eventually led to Sgt. Roy Testa's firing more than two months ago.

The records should provide details about why Testa was fired in June following a disciplinary hearing. Town officials have repeatedly declined to explain the reasons behind Testa's termination because it is a personnel matter.

"I think the true facts will come out," said Police Chief Roy Melnick, who conducted the internal investigation and recommended Testa be fired. "I think it's unfortunate the officer's conduct becomes public information. I think he has a right to privacy."

The News made a request for the investigation records at the beginning of September under the state's public records law. Ashland Town Counsel Dave Thomas said he would review the documents and release the information by the end of next week or the following Monday. He said some information may be withheld based on the public records law.

Testa referred all questions about the investigation to the police union's lawyer, Howard Lenow. Lenow said he was surprised the town was releasing documents from the investigation. He said he did not think they were public.

"Roy Testa was not fired for just cause. We are confident the arbitrator will reinstate Roy Testa and that the chief's decision to terminate him will be reversed," he said.

The internal investigation was launched, Melnick said, after he was contacted by former state police superintendent Col. Thomas Foley about complaints filed against Testa by a state police chemist, a trooper and a sergeant.

Melnick said he asked that the state police investigate, but Foley declined. The chief then conducted the investigation, using statements taken by the state police from the three employees.

Melnick declined to discuss the complaints filed by the employees against Testa. But at the time Testa was fired, Lenow said the chemist, who is black, accused Testa of saying to him,"'When did the state police start hiring blacks?"'

"They felt it serious enough to report it to their supervisor and then the harassment unit," Melnick said. The chief insisted Testa was not fired simply for comments he made to the employees.

After the police investigation, a disciplinary hearing was held between the town and the union, and Interim Town Manager Dale Morris upheld the recommendation that Testa be fired. Testa's case will now go to an impartial arbitrator.

In June, the News requested minutes of the disciplinary hearing and a copy of the hearing officer's decision. The town ruled the documents were exempt from the public records law, and the state public records division upheld the decision.

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Officer calls hearing a 'kangaroo court': Ashland patrolman faces dismissal over alleged improper OT request

By David McLaughlin / News Staff Writer
Saturday, September 18, 2004

ASHLAND -- Police Officer Charles Garbarino expects a town-sponsored "kangaroo court" will force him out his job of 27 years on Monday -- all following a dispute over $136.65 in overtime pay.

Garbarino has been accused of attempted larceny from the town and will face a disciplinary hearing Monday morning, the second such hearing for an Ashland police officer since June, when Sgt. Roy Testa was fired.

In an interview this week, Garbarino, a vocal critic of Chief Roy Melnick, insisted the chief is retaliating against him for standing up for the union and its officers. Garbarino has filed grievances and complaints against the chief, including one to the state Ethics Commission that accuses Melnick of violating the state's conflict of interest law.

"I've stood up for the truth. I write accurate reports. To be called a criminal at this point in my career, I'm beside myself," he said.

Melnick said he is not after Garbarino and called those charges "totally false." But he declined to comment on any details about the case in order to protect Garbarino's privacy, he said.

Officer Gregory Fawkes, the Ashland police union president, also declined comment about the charges against Garbarino, but he said the union was "100 percent" representing him.

"We, as a union, fully expect that he's going to get a very fair hearing in a public forum," Fawkes said.

Melnick recommended that Garbarino be fired following a police investigation into Garbarino's request for overtime pay in June. Two police sergeants, who also investigated complaints that Melnick made disparaging remarks about two of his employees, found that a "preponderance of evidence" showed Garbarino attempted to commit larceny by false pretenses and filed a false written report, according to police department documents.

The investigation also determined he violated several rules and regulations of the police department, including untruthfulness, conduct unbecoming a police officer and criminal conduct.

On Monday at 9 a.m. at Town Hall, the town will hold a disciplinary hearing on the charges that could lead to Garbarino's firing. Garbarino requested that the hearing, which he described as "a sandbag job," be made public. As of yesterday, it was scheduled to be open.

"I've got nothing to lose. They're going to rubber stamp this termination," he said.

Interim Town Manager Dale Morris, who will preside over the hearing and make the final decision on Garbarino's case, said the hearing would be fair. Morris upheld Melnick's recommendation that Testa be fired following an investigation into racially tinged remarks the sergeant allegedly made to a state police employee.

"I'm going to listen to the facts on both sides of the case and go from there," Morris said.

According to Garbarino, the case against him began when Melnick ordered him to answer 15 questions regarding a civil lawsuit brought against the town and the chief by a former auxiliary police officer. Melnick submitted the questions to Garbarino on June 11 and wanted them answered by 9 a.m. on June 14.

Garbarino argued it is a conflict of interest for Melnick to order him to answer questions about a lawsuit in which the chief is a defendant. Still, he worked on his 12-page response to the questions during his time off. He said he did not have time to work on them during his 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift Friday, June 11, and Saturday, June 12, because he was busy patrolling his section of town.

But to finish the questions on time, he said, he returned to the station on the morning of June 14, his day off, and worked from 8 a.m. to 8:43 a.m. He submitted a request for four hours of recall, or overtime, pay, amounting to $136.65. The contract requires that officers get a minimum of four hours recall pay if they are called to work when they are off duty.

Melnick denied the overtime pay and then filed a complaint against Garbarino, arguing he had time to answer the questions on his two shifts and was not ordered to come in on his day off, according to police department documents. The chief wrote in his complaint that when Garbarino filed a grievance over the overtime dispute, he tried to make the union "arbitrate his criminal act."

The police investigation into Melnick's complaint found that Garbarino had time to answer the questions while he was on duty.

Garbarino said he has since been ordered not to talk about his case and was charged with insubordination for talking to the News. The gag order, he said, is a violation of his free speech right to talk about his personnel matters.

"I just won't look the other way, and he's got a problem with that," Garbarino said of Melnick. "Anyone who disagrees with this man is marked."
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