By William Tauro
With all this recent news out there by the media outlets emphasizing the wrong doing regarding the Massachusetts State Police overtime scandals with state troopers getting indicted, losing their pensions and getting locked up, maybe the federal authorities should also take a pretty close look to what is going on here in Somerville as well.
Several cases of alleged fraudulent compensation and overtime hours have been brought before the cities personnel department for review recently that were concerning a handful of police officers including captains and lieutenants who have been alleged of illegally stealing compensation hours and overtime money from Somerville taxpayers were audited by the city.
Many of the officers focus med in this investigation and involved in these audits were upper rank officers, the leaders of the department who are allegedly being accused of stealing and committing these actual crimes.
One of these audited cases resulted in a Somerville Police officer actually getting caught and admitting to the charges and then who was simply released of the crime with zero discipline given and no charges filed against him.
This officer who admitted to the crime allegedly put in for eight hours of compensation for a total of sixty days.
If you do the math that equals to 480 hours at between $60-$80 an hour costing the taxpayers between $28,800.-$38,400. in compensation hours paid to this particular police officer alone.
The penalty for this particular scope of crime would’ve resulted in a federal indictment of the officer as well as suspension/termination pending a federal criminal proceedings trial.
To not be confused, when a police officer receives compensation time, it is the same as overtime and that officer eventually will receive that money back to them tax free as they retire.
A recently retired Somerville Police officer told us that Mayor Joseph Curtatone instead of firing the officer regarding his admission of guilt received zero disciplinary actions to allegedly prevent a major outbreak of the scandal and potential embarrassment to his administration.
We are currently awaiting on additional information from the Somerville Mayor’s office, City Personnel and Police Department on this matter as well as on another case involving an investigation that was prompted against a Somerville Police Sergent by the Concord Police Department for similar fraudulent criminal activity that was also buried.
Recent calls to the Mayor’s office, Somerville Police, city solicitor and personnel departments have gone unanswered.
We will keep you informed as this story is still developing…