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Ex-finance chief files complaint vs. mayor, city

  • Mayor William Martin Mayor William Martin

  • Elizabeth Braccia Elizabeth Braccia



Staff Writer
Monday, December 03, 2018

GREENFIELD — The city’s former finance director has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination against the city and Mayor William Martin alleging he let her go, in part, because of her sexual orientation. 

The civil rights complaint comes from Elizabeth Braccia, who departed in July after her contract was not renewed by Martin.

Before Braccia left, she had been at the center of a brouhaha over finances and management of Greenfield Community Energy and Technology under the direction of Daniel Kelley, who had been hired by the mayor but was eventually replaced after the controversy.

After Braccia left, the City Council voted no confidence in Martin, asking him to step down. 

At the time of her departure though, questions were raised over  Martin’s not renewing Braccia’s contract. Some of these answers were sought in private sessions of the council.

She was one of three city employees who testified at a council hearing on Kelley’s alleged mismanagement of GCET, which reflected badly on the mayor’s oversight of the quasi-municipal agency.

While Braccia’s lawyer and Martin acknowledge existence of the complaint, MCAD would not comment. The agency does not typically comment on complaints until a hearing officer vets them.

Braccia’s lawyer, Nate Olin, confirmed his client submitted a complaint, which was first filed in October. Olin was willing to acknowledge the complaint when notified the mayor had already discussed it with the press. 

“It’s disappointing, although perhaps not unsurprising, that mayor Martin would decide to comment publicly on a confidential matter, ostensibly involving the sexual orientation of Elizabeth Braccia and her ongoing support for the Greenfield LGBTQ community,” Olin said in a statement he read. “It fits precisely into his pattern of bullying, harassment, discrimination and retaliation.”

Olin said the complaint is “multi-pronged” and is in respect to Braccia’s “unlawful termination of employment.” 

“We are however completely confident that the mayor’s firing of Ms. Braccia’s was illegal on many fronts and a textbook violation of her civil rights,” Olin said. “As anyone who knows Elizabeth will attest, she was a stellar auditor and finance director, who was singularly focused on preserving and protecting the finances of the town and its residents.”

Investigations with MCAD typically take about six to 18 months, Olin said.

Martin said on Friday the reason he’s been “closed mouth” on her firing and particulars of the city’s finances, like bonding, was the pending complaint, which has now been filed.

In the background of the complaint is an incident over a Franklin County Pride Day poster that was hung in City Hall in the summer. A pride poster that was up in the treasurer’s office was supposedly removed at the mayor’s direction, which Braccia spoke about publicly.  Martin had said the poster itself was against the city’s solicitation policy, although the poster did not appear to be seeking any business from the city. 

In July, Martin declined to answer whether the poster incident contributed to Braccia’s dismissal, saying reasons her contract was not renewed were a “personnel matter” and thus confidential. He added, “I don’t want to say anything that will hurt the city.” 

On Friday, he made his first public remarks on the firing since then, when discussing the overall finances of the city.

Martin made reference to a suit that Braccia had filed and that Friday was his final day to submit his facts. 

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264