Chief's attorney continues to question motives of East Providence City Manager, Council members
EAST PROVIDENCE — The legal representative of embattled East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares Friday, July 12, issued a terse response to a statement offered by City Manager Peter Graczykowski the previous day in regard to the recently released details of a Rhode Island State Police investigation into alleged misconduct.
Attorney Thomas McAndrew first contacted The Post and eastbayri.com by phone Thursday, July 11, then Friday emailed a two-page letter questioning the motives and rationale of Mr. Graczykowski and the two City Council members looked at by the State Police — Chrissy Rossi and Thomas Rose Jr.
Saying "it's time to set the record straight," Mr. McAndrew accused Mr. Graczykowski of continuing to misrepresent the circumstances and facts which led to Chief Tavares being placed on leave as well as the details of the subsequent State Police report resulting from the action.
Mr. McAndrew noted in addition to being placed on leave April 15 of this year, Mr. Graczykowski presented the Chief with a “Separation Agreement,” which the attorney said "was intended to force the Chief to involuntarily resign from his position as Chief of the East Providence Police Department."
Mr. McAndrew insisted neither then or now has the City Manager ever indicated that Chief Tavares was being investigated and still has not made either he or Mr. McAndrew aware of the allegations supposedly brought against him.
Wrote Mr. McAndrew, "As such, it is impossible to address illusory investigations/probes that have been used by the Manager to undermine the Chief and to disparage and ridicule him and the reputation that he has worked so hard over thirty plus (30+) years to earn and maintain."
Despite Mr. Graczykowski's on-the-record denials, Mr. McAndrew insisted in his letter that the City Manager did, in fact, make a quid pro quo agreement to fire the Chief in return for a new employment contract.
"Clearly, the City Manager, feeling the pressure from certain Council People who wanted the Chief removed, enhanced his prospects to secure favorable consideration for the (April 16 Council meeting) Executive Session Agenda item by suspending the Chief on Monday, April 15, 2013 without cause, without any written or oral allegations or due process."
Mr. McAndrew's charges don't stop there. He claims the Manager's July 11 statement was a misrepresentation of the State Police report into allegations of misconduct made against Mr. Rose and Mrs. Rossi.
Mr. McAndrew wrote, "Contrary to the Manager’s recent self serving statement, and in an effort to continue to cull the favor of certain City Council members, he misstates a significant portion of the State Police report. The State Police did not, as suggested by the Manager, 'exonerate' the City’s officials, but according to the published report, state that: 'Councilwoman Rossi and Councilman Rose exercised their right to counsel and did not fully cooperate with the investigation.'"
The attorney continued, "This doesn’t sound to me like two (2) public officials who are cooperating fully with those investigating the allegations. Of course, we can understand that individuals whose punishment would be removal from the City Council would not necessarily want to assist an investigator in establishing those facts. Let us not forget that Section 2-12 of the Revised City Ordinances provides as follows:
"'Sec. 2-12 Council not to interfere in appointments or removals by city manager; council to act through city manager in dealing with subordinates. Neither the council nor any of its members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to, or his removal from, office by the city manager or any of his subordinates, or in any manner take part in the appointment or removal of officers and employees in the administrative service of the city. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the council and its members shall deal with the administrative service solely through the city manager and neither the council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinates of the city manager, either publicly or privately. Any councilman violating the provisions of this section. shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall cease to be a councilman.'"
The most damning charge by the Chief's legal rep possibly came in the letter's final few graphs. He claims the City Manager told Chief Tavares he was being pressured by unnamed Councilors to fire the head of the police department.
Mr. McAndrew wrote, "Significantly, City Manager Graczykowski informed Chief Tavares on April 3, 2013, before the Chief was suspended and offered a Separation Agreement, that he was receiving an inordinate amount of pressure from 'certain Council People to have the Chief removed. '
"Rather than continuing this Charade of certain Council People protecting the City Manager, and the City Manager correspondingly protecting certain Council People, I would suggest that all four (4) individuals, to include the Chief, go on “the box” and take a lie detector test before a licensed professional to determine who’s telling the truth. This would provide, once and for all, an independent professional the opportunity to question these four (4) individuals and to determine the veracity of the statements and comments that they have made and continue to make."