×

Montague Selectboard to hold executive session Saturday, topic unclear

  • Montague Police Chief Charles “Chip” Dodge



Recorder Staff
Thursday, January 25, 2018

TURNERS FALLS — A closed-door Selectboard meeting is planned for Saturday to “discuss complaints and potential disciplinary action” against a town employee.

Officials won’t say whether it’s continued from a similar conversation about Police Chief Charles Dodge, who has been on unpaid leave for weeks for an unspecified reason.

Town Administrator Steve Ellis did not provide specific information, but confirmed that the meeting will convene in open session at 10 a.m. in Town Hall.

“I would anticipate the board would go into executive session pretty directly,” he said. “At the end of the meeting (the board) will close out of executive session and go back into open session. They may or may not take any votes.”

Previous meeting

A closed-door disciplinary hearing that involved Dodge was continued from Jan. 5 after a day of testimony.

A report from APD Management Inc., a private firm founded in 1998 by retired Tewksbury Police Chief Alfred P. Donovan, was part of those proceedings, where Dodge was in attendance. That report has not been made public.

The private firm was hired by Montague in November to investigate Dodge, who was scrutinized in 2016 by the state Attorney General’s Office for alleged mishandling of prescription drop-box drugs at the police station.

An Oct. 12 Greenfield Recorder story detailed how the investigation, which included a state police sting operation, focused on Dodge, who became addicted to opioids after being prescribed painkillers for a foot injury he suffered as a young patrol officer.

No charges resulted from the investigation, which was closed last year.

After the story appeared, many people in town stood behind Dodge, who is in recovery for his addiction. Others called for his resignation.

Later, town officials placed Dodge on paid administrative leave, a decision apparently influenced by two letters mailed in response to the newspaper article.

One letter came from Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, who initially voiced public support for Dodge’s recovery, but later said that with Dodge as chief, Montague Police would not be allowed back onto the regional anti-crime task force, from which it had been suspended during the 2016 tampering probe.

The second letter from officers in Montague’s police union expressed displeasure about comments Dodge made to AG investigators and the newspaper, which the union members say suggested one of them may have stolen drugs from the drop-off box.

Dodge is still on paid administrative leave.

Saturday’s session will be held in the second-floor meeting room in Town Hall.

The next regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting will be held Monday at 7 p.m. at the Montague Center Fire Station.

Reach Christie Wisniewski at:

cwisniewski@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 280