PD Denies grievance, ball in Manager’s court

Chartrand wrote quite a “harsh” letter recently to Lt Fleury, and in response the union has filed a grievance on his behalf.

Upon reading the story in the paper last week, I immediately thought that there is probably no policy in writing with regard to how many hours an officer can work within a limited time.

Chartrand made some points with regard to hours, but could be seen to have gone a bit overboard on other wording.

In the department review performed recently, it was pointed out that we need better policies and procedures in that department.

Now Town Manager Duggan has a bit of a hot potato to deal with.

From the Lowell Sun political gossip column:

THE BATTLE between the top management of the Dracut Police Department and the officers union has escalated.

Police Chief Kevin Richardson has denied a grievance filed by the union on behalf of Lt. Michael Fleury, and it’s up to Town Manager James Duggan to resolve the bitter dispute.

A copy of the grievance, filed by the New England Police Benevolent Association against Deputy Chief David Chartrand has not yet been released to the public so specific allegations are unknown. But it appears related to a report of an internal-affairs investigation regarding Fleury, released under a public-records request by The Sun.

Chartrand both conducts internal investigations and handles records requests.

The Fleury report stands out for a few reason. The other two employees investigated in 2015 were officers, while Fleury is a supervisor. And the wording of Chartrand’s letter of reprimand was extremely harsh.

Chartrand characterized Fleury as “passive aggressive,” and wrote that his decision to work 32 out of 34 hours was motivated by a desire for personal gain and could have put the town at risk of litigation for negligence if something had gone wrong during one of Fleury’s shifts.

“The message that you have put forth to officers within the department is that greed is acceptable and that making money takes priority over safety,” Chartrand wrote in the Oct. 14 letter. “You need to do some soul searching and dedicate yourself to performing your duties as a supervisor, not just taking as much money that is available to you from the department.”

A portion of Chartrand’s letter to Fleury was published in a March 13 Sun story examining internal-affairs investigations at police departments throughout the region.

Richardson declined to discuss his reason for denying the grievance, except to say the department merely complied with the newspaper’s request. Richardson acknowledged Fleury must have been “upset.”

Duggan declined comment.

Last year, a department audit by Municipal Resources Inc. identified a caustic relationship between leadership and some subordinates, namely Fleury, as a serious morale and employee-retention problem.

The NEPBA has long been at war with leadership, not so much with Richardson but with Chartrand, who has eyed the top job for years.

The union’s executive director is Jerry Flynn, the retired Lowell police officer who has never been shy about dissing Chartrand. Its director of administration is Tony Archinski, the retired Dracut police officer who is now Board of Selectmen chairman.


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