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#1
Mar 20, 2014
 
http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_...

FITCHBURG -- Mayor Lisa Wong said Tuesday that an anonymous letter critical of police-chief nominee Scott Heagney had nothing to do with her abrupt decision to withdraw her nomination.

Heagney begs to differ.

That letter, from a resident of Heagney's hometown of Attleboro, had everything to do with the decision, Heagney, 46, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

He denied the allegations set forth in the letter, which was obtained by the Sentinel & Enterprise on Wednesday.

Until Wong received the letter Monday, Heagney said, everything was going fine. Heagney said they were negotiating his salary and benefits, he'd already put his home in Victor, N.Y., up for sale, and had made plans to tour the Fitchburg Police Department and the city with exiting Police Chief Robert DeMoura today.

A City Council meeting where councilors would decide whether to appoint him to the post was scheduled for tonight. It's been canceled.

Wong had also been praising Heagney for his integrity in turning in a former partner whom Heagney said served jail time for being paid off to protect an illegal gambling operation in Franklin.

"Surprised is an understatement," Heagney said of his reaction to hearing that Wong had pulled the nomination.

That letter, however, brought to light two key things Heagney had not disclosed to Wong or those involved in the search process:

* He had worked at other police departments before his time at the Franklin Police Department

* Early in his career, he had faced charges in relation to accusations that he'd threatened and beaten someone with a firearm.

Heagney admitted he had been charged with two counts of assault and battery, two counts of threatening to commit a crime and one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in 1988, when he was 21, but said the charges had been a result of an ex-girlfriend seeking revenge for their breakup.

He said he was found not guilty when the case went to trial in Wrentham District Court, and he later petitioned to have the records sealed. He also provided evidence of a polygraph test he had taken at the time to prove his innocence in the matter.

The letter also alleges Heagney began his career at the Attleboro Police Department and then went to the Falmouth Police Department, with "undesirable behavior" forcing him to transfer out of each of those communities before landing at the Franklin Police Department.

Heagney denied these allegations, saying it was the behavior of his fellow officers that forced him out of Attleboro, calling it an "untenable working environment." He said his father, a former captain on the force there, had been a finalist for police chief earlier in 1986, the same year he joined, and those who had been against his father becoming chief turned their hostilities toward him.

While waiting for a transfer to Franklin to go through in 1987, Heagney said he worked in Millville for a few months, and was laid off in Franklin two years later along with some other officers and staff because of poor economic conditions. He said he worked in Falmouth until 1993 when he returned to Franklin, where he rose through the ranks, leaving as a lieutenant in 2001 to work for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He currently works as resident agent-in-charge of the agency's Rochester, N.Y., field office.

Since: Feb 10

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#2
Mar 20, 2014
 
Continued.......

Heagney said the assault-and-battery allegations he'd been cleared of resurfaced when he applied for the job at ATF, and he underwent intense investigative scrutiny of his life all the way back through high school as well as a full-scope polygraph test. He said if the allegations of discipline and bad behavior at his previous departments were true, ATF would have found proof and he'd have never been hired. As a federal agent, he is also reinvestigated every five years, he said.

"I've had my life tipped upside down and looked through with a microscope," Heagney said. "I would not have accomplished everything in my career if one iota of that stuff was true."

While Heagney did admit to omitting Attleboro and Falmouth from his application for Fitchburg police chief, and writing instead that he worked in Franklin from 1987 through 2001, he said the application had only requested employment history for the past 15 years. Given that the records were sealed on his assault-and-battery case, he said he did not feel it was necessary to include.

Both points, however, Heagney said, were an issue for Wong.

"The city is not interested in pursuing a candidate for police chief who withheld key information about their work résumé and character," Wong said in an emailed statement Wednesday in response to Heagney's comments. "The city is now focused on moving forward with a new search."

Prior to Wong's decision on Tuesday to reject Heagney, he said he was working with the city's consultant, BadgeQuest, to address each point in the anonymous letter. He said plans were in place to begin reviewing his personnel files at each department he'd previously worked at, starting with Attleboro.

On Tuesday, however, he said Wong asked him to withdraw as a candidate, and he refused to do so, leading to Wong withdrawing her nomination.

After rising to be the top candidate in an intense, six-month process, Heagney said he felt Wong owed it to him to complete his background investigation.

He suggested Wong's "knee-jerk reaction" was political in nature, and that she was "afraid of how she would look to her enemies on the council."

While Heagney disagrees with Wong's decision, he said he has to respect it and move on. He said he was looking forward to working in Fitchburg and advancing community policing initiatives here, and had already begun to make connections with local officers.

Heagney said he felt it necessary to clear his name, because he still intends to one day find a job as a police chief. He said being a police chief has been a lifelong career goal, and he's not about to throw it away because of a "cowardly" letter writer seeking to lash out at his family and destroy his chances of fulfilling that dream.

Detective Keith Bourne, president of the Fitchburg police union and a member of the search committee that selected Heagney as a finalist, said he doesn't believe a dismissal of charges from nearly 30 years ago should be used against Heagney, and that it's completely within Heagney's legal right to have those records sealed. He said many in law enforcement have unfair and untrue accusations leveled against them, and credit should not be given to a letter writer unwilling to be named.

"If his background investigation held water for the ATF, I don't see how he would be a detriment working for the city of Fitchburg," Bourne said.

He said Heagney had immediately reached out to the union, and the officers were looking forward to Heagney bringing his ATF knowledge and a new approach to the city.

"We were excited he was coming here, and we're disappointed he's not now," Bourne said. "Hopefully this process will lend itself to allowing an internal candidate to get a further look at and maybe an opportunity to be chief."
Matt Murphy

Fitchburg, MA

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#3
Mar 20, 2014
 

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"Heagney admitted he had been charged with two counts of assault and battery, two counts of threatening to commit a crime and one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in 1988."

A few years ago our distinguished do-nothing Captain Kearns admitted drawing and aiming his pistol at a fellow officer in the FPD locker room.

Then you have Captain Bozo Bozicas wanting and ready to take on the world.

And, of course, the FPD has more than its share of wife-beaters, girlfriend beaters, etc.

Man, imagine if Heagney, Kearns and Bozicas went to lunch together and the soup arrived lukewarm!

Funny how these Rambo wannabees never quite got around to voluntary military service.

Since: Feb 10

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#4
Mar 20, 2014
 
http://www.telegram.com/article/20140320/NEWS...

By Paula J. Owen TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

FITCHBURG — U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives Agent Scott L. Heagney alleges Mayor Lisa A. Wong withdrew her nomination Tuesday to name him the next police chief over an anonymous "poison pen" letter before she even tried to find out if it was factual.

Mr. Heagney was Ms. Wong's top pick to replace Chief Robert A. DeMoura, who is leaving March 31.

Until Monday, Mr. Heagney said everything was going fine and he had already started discussions with the police union and talked with the chief.

He was to drive from his home in Rochester, N.Y., Wednesday night for his confirmation by City Council Thursday evening, he said.

Then, he received a call Monday from the city's human resources director, Bernard Stephens, about an anonymous letter from Attleboro where his brother is police chief, his deceased father worked as captain and he started his law enforcement career as a patrolman.

Mr. Heagney said his brother has made some enemies cleaning up corruption since taking the chief's position and believes the letter was written in retaliation.

The letter is disparaging and full of inaccuracies about his past, Mr. Heagney said.

"This is all about the anonymous letter," he said.

Ms. Wong told councilors via email Tuesday of her decision to withdraw her nomination and said she had suspended contract negotiations and completion of his background check and would re-advertise the position.

Ms. Wong would not say why she made the decision, but told a reporter it had nothing to do with the letter. She did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday night.

Mr. Heagney said he feels the mayor should have stood behind him and completed the background check that would have proved the allegations in the letter were false.

"I feel like the rug was pulled out from underneath me," he said. "She said it wasn't about the letter, but that is a baldfaced lie.... I have never been this mistreated in my professional career by any official."

Also included in the letter was information about a 1988 court case in which Mr. Heagney was charged with physical abuse of his then girlfriend. He said the case went to trial and he was found not guilty.

However, Ms. Wong indicated to him during their phone conversations Monday she was upset he did not disclose the incident, he said.

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#5
Mar 20, 2014
 
"The letter also alleges Heagney began his career at the Attleboro Police Department and then went to the Falmouth Police Department, with "undesirable behavior" forcing him to transfer out of each of those communities before landing at the Franklin Police Department."

Of course it was about the letter. If it wasn't for the letter she would have never have known about his true employment history. Why would he keep it from the search committee if he had nothing to hide?
Lynch for Chief

Gardner, MA

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#6
Mar 20, 2014
 

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Maybe Wong should look at the three police officers from Gardner

Landry Bibeau and Wrigley, They all were bad cops that got to resign instead of going to court and jail
Jtn

Concord, MA

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#7
Mar 20, 2014
 

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Lynch for Chief wrote:
Maybe Wong should look at the three police officers from Gardner
Landry Bibeau and Wrigley, They all were bad cops that got to resign instead of going to court and jail
bravo
Factchecker

Palmyra, NY

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#8
Mar 20, 2014
 
Stamos wrote:
"The letter also alleges Heagney began his career at the Attleboro Police Department and then went to the Falmouth Police Department, with "undesirable behavior" forcing him to transfer out of each of those communities before landing at the Franklin Police Department."
Of course it was about the letter. If it wasn't for the letter she would have never have known about his true employment history. Why would he keep it from the search committee if he had nothing to hide?
Stamos...if you read the articles you will see that the application from the city only asked the candidates to go back 15 years. Heagney went back to Franklin which was 20+ years. Why would he go back further if the instructions for the application only indicated to go back 15???? From what I understand from one of the members of the search committee, Heagney talked openly during the process about beginning his career in Attleboro and working in several municipalities. Based on that and the information secured by the papers it sure doesn't sound like he was keeping anything from anyone. Sounds like he talked about it openly. Wong just jumped the gun and made an impulsive decision.
You Know Who

Orange, VA

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#9
Mar 20, 2014
 

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Gee wizz, if we are going to search until we find a cop who has a squeeky clean past; as well as being an individual who is willing to take this position for a feeble $147k per year, it may be a very long wait.

Cops have been beating girlfriends and wifes for as long as there has been cops. And, as far as threatening and beating someone with a firearm; this is standard behavior for many of our nation's lawmen.

We are going to have to lower our expectations. That way, we can get a regular, run of the mill cop who is currently not making near the $147k anyway....

Since: Feb 10

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#10
Mar 20, 2014
 

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Factchecker wrote:
<quoted text>
Stamos...if you read the articles you will see that the application from the city only asked the candidates to go back 15 years. Heagney went back to Franklin which was 20+ years. Why would he go back further if the instructions for the application only indicated to go back 15???? From what I understand from one of the members of the search committee, Heagney talked openly during the process about beginning his career in Attleboro and working in several municipalities. Based on that and the information secured by the papers it sure doesn't sound like he was keeping anything from anyone. Sounds like he talked about it openly. Wong just jumped the gun and made an impulsive decision.
She may have jumped the gun and made an impulsive decision like you say but it's also being reported that he was forced to transfer out of 2 other PD's because of "undesirable behavior" before landing in Franklin. What was that so-called "undesirable behavior" and did Wong look into it and find out something that's not being reported? I'm not a big fan of her's but there are clearly some unanswered questions here so I'm picking the better safe than sorry route that she chose.
What I don't understand though is why she has to start the hiring process all over again when there are two other finalists that have been also chosen during this costly search?
Scoop

Gardner, MA

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#11
Mar 20, 2014
 
Stamos wrote:
<quoted text>
She may have jumped the gun and made an impulsive decision like you say but it's also being reported that he was forced to transfer out of 2 other PD's because of "undesirable behavior" before landing in Franklin. What was that so-called "undesirable behavior" and did Wong look into it and find out something that's not being reported? I'm not a big fan of her's but there are clearly some unanswered questions here so I'm picking the better safe than sorry route that she chose.
What I don't understand though is why she has to start the hiring process all over again when there are two other finalists that have been also chosen during this costly search?
Once eliminated from the search the other candidates can not be considered. All candidates going into the process understands this.

This eliminates the runner up from being appointed in case the finalists does not get the position. The reason for this is because the runner ups may have some hostility and bitterness from not being picked the first time.

The city will not take a chance of appointing a runner up that will feel that they are viewed as the second choice and may feel resentment throughout their term.
Scoop

Gardner, MA

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#12
Mar 20, 2014
 
Factchecker wrote:
<quoted text>
Stamos...if you read the articles you will see that the application from the city only asked the candidates to go back 15 years. Heagney went back to Franklin which was 20+ years. Why would he go back further if the instructions for the application only indicated to go back 15???? From what I understand from one of the members of the search committee, Heagney talked openly during the process about beginning his career in Attleboro and working in several municipalities. Based on that and the information secured by the papers it sure doesn't sound like he was keeping anything from anyone. Sounds like he talked about it openly. Wong just jumped the gun and made an impulsive decision.
The application will mostly likely be modified to include all prior work history.

15 years prior was only for the WORK HISTORY not for criminal charges. He had to disclose all incidents involving being charged with a crime even if the records were sealed for his entire life.

The problem was the letter being sent. It may have actually come from a Police Chief from the other departments.

Many applicants who have past incidents will only apply to communities that do not go back as far in years and check their backgrounds during that time thus avoiding and hoping to obtain a job even with a criminal history.
Scoop

Gardner, MA

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#13
Mar 20, 2014
 
Stamos wrote:
<quoted text>
She may have jumped the gun and made an impulsive decision like you say but it's also being reported that he was forced to transfer out of 2 other PD's because of "undesirable behavior" before landing in Franklin. What was that so-called "undesirable behavior" and did Wong look into it and find out something that's not being reported? I'm not a big fan of her's but there are clearly some unanswered questions here so I'm picking the better safe than sorry route that she chose.
What I don't understand though is why she has to start the hiring process all over again when there are two other finalists that have been also chosen during this costly search?
Think about it, if the Mayor didn't pick you as the top candidate and later came back and asked you if you want the job because her 1st pick didn't work out. How will that make you feel?

The Mayor-Chief working relationship would most likely not work out if the runner up got the job. The runner up Chief will lose and not respect the Mayor through his term.

All companies want their department heads to know that they were their 1st pick for the job.

Even runner ups are usually not allowed and agree ahead of time that they can never reapply for the position again.

This also happens in the executive professional private sector so working relationships remain positive. Applying for a Chief Executive position are usually a one shot deal in big companies such as Microsoft and Google. This will prevent a runner up of ever getting the position and then undermining the ones that did not choose him in the first place.

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#14
Mar 20, 2014
 
Scoop wrote:
<quoted text>
Think about it, if the Mayor didn't pick you as the top candidate and later came back and asked you if you want the job because her 1st pick didn't work out. How will that make you feel?
The Mayor-Chief working relationship would most likely not work out if the runner up got the job. The runner up Chief will lose and not respect the Mayor through his term.
All companies want their department heads to know that they were their 1st pick for the job.
Even runner ups are usually not allowed and agree ahead of time that they can never reapply for the position again.
This also happens in the executive professional private sector so working relationships remain positive. Applying for a Chief Executive position are usually a one shot deal in big companies such as Microsoft and Google. This will prevent a runner up of ever getting the position and then undermining the ones that did not choose him in the first place.
Honestly, it would make me feel great that I got the job. If ones ego of being 2nd choice for such a position as the Chief of Police is that lame then they don't deserve the position in the first place. With your thinking then what kind of "respect" do you suppose an "acting" Chief will garner?

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#15
Mar 20, 2014
 
Scoop sounds like a complete putz. Shouldn't you be hangning out at a bath house servicing the boys?
Scoop

Gardner, MA

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#16
Mar 20, 2014
 
Well I see there are no military vets here or public safety members or else you would understand.

Since: Feb 10

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#17
Mar 21, 2014
 
Update.....

Fitchburg mayor says her first choice for police chief was not forthcoming

By Paula J. Owen TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

FITCHBURG — The city is about to resume the search for a new police chief after the mayor withdrew her nomination of her top pick.

Ms. Wong had nominated Scott L. Heagney, an agent with the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, before she and city councilors received an anonymous disparaging letter Monday from an Attleboro resident about Mr. Heagney; his brother, Kyle P. Heagney, who is chief in Attleboro; and their deceased father, who was a captain in the Attleboro department.

On Tuesday, she suspended completion of Mr. Heagney's background check and withdrew her nomination two days before his scheduled confirmation by the City Council.

Now, Ms. Wong claims the 46-year-old ATF agent, who runs the Rochester, N.Y., office, was not forthcoming on his résumé about his work experience or about a court case on alleged assault and battery and other charges when he was 21.

But Mr. Heagney said he completed the application and answered all questions asked by BadgeQuest, the public safety consultants that contracted with the city to help with the search.

BadgeQuest's application asks for only 15 years of experience, but Mr. Heagney said Ms. Wong took issue with him not including his time as a patrolman in the Attleboro department nearly 30 years ago.

Moreover, the application had a space to list criminal convictions, but Mr. Heagney was found not guilty at his trial in 1988 and his records were sealed. He said the allegations were made by an ex-girlfriend in retaliation for the breakup.

"I answered all questions fully," Mr. Heagney said. "Don't expect 30 years of employment history when you are only asking for 15. Nowhere in the process is there a spot to bring these issues up."

Mr. Heagney said the mayor withdrew her nomination because of an anonymous "poison pen" letter before she even tried to find out if anything in it was factual.

Mr. Heagney would have replaced Chief Robert A. DeMoura, who is leaving March 31.

His brother, the Attleboro chief, said he was deeply disturbed by the letter.

"I feel bad," he said. "I feel like my brother lost his job because of me and it saddens me. If given the chance, he could have done great things for Fitchburg."

He said the letter was more of an attack on him and the false allegations against his brother, Scott, were an attempt by the writer to get to him.

"They tried to character assassinate him to hurt me," Chief Heagney said.

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#18
Mar 21, 2014
 
Continued......

After taking the post four years ago, Chief Heagney said, he cleaned up corruption in the Attleboro department and in the process made several enemies, including officers who resigned and others who were terminated.

He said he believes the letter writer is a malcontent former employee and faults Ms. Wong for not finishing the background check on his brother that would have proven the allegations in the letter are false.

"I am disappointed in Mayor Wong," Chief Heagney said. "I thought she would see through anonymous letters like this, but apparently she doesn't have the political backbone to stand up against nonsense and poppycock."

Ms. Wong did not return calls for comment, but did respond via text: "The city is not interested in pursuing a candidate for police chief who was not forthcoming with his résumé. We are focused on moving forward with a new search."

Fitchburg Councilor Paul R. Beauchemin said the mayor should have completed the background check.

"If we didn't do the background check, shame on us," he said. "You're talking about somebody's name here."

Councilor Amy L. Green said the mayor may have jumped the gun before completing the background check, but said she needs to be comfortable with the person she nominates.

"When it comes to those positions of power, you should have full disclosure, no matter what age you were," she said of Mr. Heagney and the charges against him in 1988. "It would have eliminated what is going on now."

Stephen H. Unsworth, owner of BadgeQuest, said the company's application asks if applicants have any issues the city should be made aware of.

"If you're on trial for assault, guilty or not, you should disclose that," Mr. Unsworth said.

He said he is not sure if the issue would have come up in his background check, however, because the records were sealed.

He also said BadgeQuest was brought in a few months late in the process and did not have the chance to help the city with the recruiting process. There was also a delay in receiving Mr. Heagney's personnel file from the ATF, he said.

"The city was anxious to get Scott's name before the City Council," he said. "But we did not have his file from the ATF. I had spoken to Scott's superiors and was assured nothing negative was in his employment history. In my opinion Scott Heagney is an honorable man, but I do think he should have mentioned the court case. It is an extremely important position."
What an

Boston, MA

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#19
Mar 21, 2014
 

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Civil Servant Supporter wrote:
Scoop sounds like a complete putz. Shouldn't you be hangning out at a bath house servicing the boys?
Try not to be such an a-hole huh. There's a rational and decent discussion on an extremely important situation, maybe one of the very few to actually happen on this board and here you are just throwing your ignorant nonsense around.

Get a hold of yourself and keep it in your own miserable head.

Low life is no life.
Lynch for Chief

Gardner, MA

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#20
Mar 21, 2014
 

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Can you say law suit against the city and the Mayor????

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