By William Tauro
This past Wednesday morning this very newspaper contacted several of the Somerville City Councilors via email and text in regards to if they were going to look into and discuss the police raid that took place at the Somerville Department of Public Works (DPW) the morning before on Tuesday.
The few city councilors that returned our call reacted as they were dumbfounded and it was actually like we were talking to a wall.
Reactions that we received from our Somerville city councilors ranged from “Hi Billy, i don’t know anything about this. Can you email me info?” and “What happened yesterday?” to “I’m not the police.” Really?
I also made a 9:00 AM phone call on Wednesday morning as well to the mayors office and spoke to Veronica inquiring if the mayor was going to issue a press release or a statement regarding what had happened at the DPW. Her answer was “I don’t think so but if anything changes I will call you back.”
So with that said, it appears that our local elected officials will be sitting on their hands again, keeping their mouths shut, with mums the word hoping it will all go away.
Is this really what it has come to in Somerville?Is this part of our expectations of our elected officials and is this what we voted on? Is there any transparency from our elected officials that we elected to represent us to let us know what is actually happening in our city? Are these the people that we’re going to trust to ask the important questions and investigate what happens on our behalf? I don’t think so!
In 2013 this very paper put the City of Somerville on notice that this was occurring at the Somerville DPW. In 2017 we spoke to and filed a report with the Massachusetts Inspecter General’s office regarding the overtime scandal situation that was taking place in Somerville producing boxes crucial evidence including photos and actual overtime slips. In 2020, this past Tuesday morning, the investigation finally began.
So our readers know on what exactly happened, here it is:
MAJOR SOMERVILLE DPW SUSPENSIONS AS CORRUPTION PROBE BEGINS
Early Tuesday morning outside agencies along with Somerville Police entered the Somerville DPW main building and garage on Frany Road as well as the home of Mike Browne, the UnitA DPW foreman on Robertson Street in Somerville.
The raid was more focused on the long alleged Somerville DPW overtime scandal and the shaking down of city vendors by DPW management.
Computers were also seized during the morning raid. At one point law enforcement authorities ordered a Somerville DPW crew to break into DPW “UnitA” Foreman Mike Browne’s office where he had a installed a thumbprint mechanism lock on his office door preventing anyone entry with a spare key.
As of Tuesday morning Somerville DPW Fleet Manager Ron Bonnie, DPW UnitA Foreman Mike Browne and DPW Worker’s Foreman Carl Winters have all been placed on suspensions and their office door locks changed and criminal charges pending.
All this comes after only one day after Somerville Police Chief David Fallon announces his retirement.
The City of Somerville issued the following statement to the city councilors in an email:
Subject: DPW personnel matter
Honorable President McLaughlin and Members of the City Council,
In response to some questions I’ve received from Councilors, I’m emailing to let you know that there is currently a DPW personnel matter that we are handling. Because this is a personnel matter, I’m unable to provide any additional details at this point.
Thank you for your understanding.
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
Mayor’s Office, City of Somerville
This story is still developing while this ongoing investigation continues…