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Officer back to work: Police sergeant returns to force, but hearing outcome uncertain
By Theresa Edo / News Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

ASHLAND - Police Sgt. Roy Testa was back at work yesterday after being fired in June, but town officials are tightlipped about the outcome of his closed-door arbitration hearing.

Testa worked the day shift yesterday, police said, but lawyers for both sides are not discussing the case.

Town Counsel Dave Thomas and police union lawyer Howard Lenow, who has been representing Testa, yesterday declined to comment on the arbitration hearing or whether a ruling had been reached. Both lawyers had said Sunday they would address the issue soon.

Lenow said yesterday he did not know when an announcement would be made. Thomas said he was waiting to hear the arbitrator's decision.

Selectman Dave Teller said yesterday the board has not heard about a ruling, and has been instructed to refer all press calls to Thomas.

Testa had been accused of making sexist and racially charged remarks to a state police chemist. He was the subject of an investigation and disciplinary hearing and was fired in June. He filed an appeal in September.

His appeal has been heard behind closed doors by an independent arbitrator, and both sides met Friday.

Testa, a 23-year veteran of the department, was fired after he lied about sexist and racially charged remarks he allegedly made to three state police employees, according to a police report released in October following a public records request by the Daily News.

The report, written by Melnick in February, said Testa made "disparaging ethnic, racial and gender statements truly offensive" to the state police workers and then lied about it. A department investigation was triggered after the employees complained.

Testa's firing stems from the investigation of a stabbing at the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Pleasant Street last winter after which the three state police employees -- a chemist, a trooper and a sergeant -- came to Ashland to help investigate.

Melnick's final report does not indicate exactly what Testa allegedly said to the employees.
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