Civil Service Rules in Favor of Dracut Deputy
DRACUT -- The state’s Civil Service Commission ruled 3-2 in favor of Deputy Police Chief David Chartrand over the town of Dracut in an appeal of the town’s decision to suspend Chartrand for 10 days.
Chartrand in 2016 was suspended for two weeks without pay, following a civil service inquiry into his handling of documents in a Dracut lieutenant’s personnel file. Police Lt. Michael Fleury had accused Chartrand of improperly releasing a letter in his personnel file to The Sun.
The majority opinion by three commissioners is that Chartrand’s appeal should be allowed in part and that his 10-day suspension should be modified and reduced to a written reprimand, according to the 44-page decision obtained by The Sun.
“We agree that the Town has not established just cause for discipline for violation of the most serious charges, including no violation of the public records laws or other misconduct, save for his failure to provide proper due process to the subject of an internal affairs investigation, as required by the department’s rules and regulations,” the majority opinion reads.
The Civil Service Commission hears and decides appeals on matters such as discipline filed by certain state and municipal employees and candidates for positions covered by the civil service law, according to the agency’s website.
Chartrand’s attorney, Andrew Gambaccini, responded Monday to The Sun’s requests for comment in an email. Gambaccini said they are pleased with the commission’s rejection of the 10-day suspension.
“Not a single one of the five Commissioners determined that Manager (James) Duggan’s action was justified and the Commissioners also rejected outright almost every one of the charges advanced against Deputy Chief Chartrand, including all of what the Commission described as the most serious charges,” Gambaccini’s email reads. “For the three Commissioners who concluded that a reprimand was warranted on the limited issue of allegedly failing to abide by the Internal Affairs Policy, we respectfully disagree that even something as minimal as a reprimand is warranted.”
In an emailed statement, Duggan on Monday said that, in spite of what Gambaccini stated, the decision of the Civil Service Commission is “clear on this matter.”
“Although the original suspension imposed has been modified to a written reprimand, the Commission still ruled that the conduct of Deputy Chartrand in deliberately disregarding the rights of a fellow superior officer warranted discipline. The written reprimand will be a permanent record of Deputy Chartrand’s personnel file,” Duggan wrote. “In his attempt to minimize the findings of the Commission being in form only, counsel for Chartrand fails to include that part of the misconduct in his contrived internal affairs investigation of his failure to even interview or discuss the matter with the officer in question and that he was the subject of such an investigation. The so-called internal affairs investigation was simply result-driven.”
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