Former GCET general manager suing city

  • Daniel Kelley, GCET general manager

Recorder Staff
Published: 5/3/2018 7:10:20 PM

GREENFIELD — The former general manager of the city’s broadband service, who was fired after allegations he had bullied city employees, is suing the city.

Daniel J. Kelley is suing for $100,000, plus attorney’s fees. The lawsuit, filed in Hampden County Superior Court, alleges that Kelley was terminated after he threatened to bring legal action against how the city mismanaged Greenfield Community, Energy and Technology funds.

When Seth Hochbaum, the lawyer representing Kelley, was reached for comment, Hochbaum said, “I am not going to comment, and I’m going to let the complaint speak for itself.”

Kelley, who was hired as interim general manager for GCET in July 2016, was dismissed by Mayor William Martin last September during an investigation by the City Council into alleged financial mismanagement and criticism that Kelley bullied others in city government.

The investigation included Martin and other city officials testifying before the council.

City Auditor Elizabeth Braccia alleged during her testimony before the council in September last year that several irregularities were found when reviewing GCET bills. These irregularities included the purchasing of gift cards, Christmas decorations, lunches and other items.

According to the lawsuit filed in Hampden Superior Court, Kelley, as the interim general manager of GCET, was in charge of operations, management, bank accounts and payment of bills for the quasi-municipal entity, while the city treasurer “accounted for and tracked” the funds separately.

These duties were given through Massachusetts General Law Chapter 164, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Braccia and then-Treasurer Kelly Varner transferred money several times without Kelley’s approval from GCET’s operating account to the city’s treasury account from December 2016 to August 2017. The lawsuit reported this happening six times, totaling $1,847,948.47.

Kelley alleges the need for his authorization is part of the process outlined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 164.

The lawsuit also alleges that several payments Kelley did authorize were not approved by Braccia. These included reimbursements, vendor costs and attorney’s fees.

The lawsuit alleges that in April 2017, after Kelley repeatedly voiced concerns over the management of funds, he sent an email that threatened legal action against the city due to the mismanagement of funds.

Kelley alleges that in a Sept. 18, 2017 meeting, Mayor Martin told Kelley he could either resign or be terminated.

Kelley was fired by Martin and was informed in writing on Sept. 19, 2017, according to the lawsuit.

An attempt to contact the attorney representing the city in the suit was unsuccessful at press time.

Martin said Thursday the city is currently in the process of gathering information related to Kelley’s allegations.

No court date has been set, but a jury trial was requested by the city on March 19. The lawsuit first came to the city’s attention in January.

GCET is in the process of building out citywide fiber optic internet service for residents. The quasi-municipality’s current general manager is John Lunt, who took over officially in February.

You can reach Dan Desrochers at:

413-772-0261, ext. 257


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