Greenfield finance director responds to lawsuit allegations

Recorder Staff
Published: 5/6/2018 9:06:34 PM

GREENFIELD — Greenfield’s finance director has denied allegations made in a lawsuit by the ousted general manager of the city’s broadband service.

Greenfield Finance Director Elizabeth Braccia said allegations of financial mismanagement in a lawsuit by former Greenfield Community, Energy and Technology General Manager Daniel J. Kelley were inaccurate. Kelley sued the city after claims he bullied city employees led to him being fired, though he claimed that it was in retaliation to his threat of legal action over the mishandling of GCET funds by the city.

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

Kelley claimed in the lawsuit filed at Hampden Superior Court that Braccia and Treasurer Kelly Varner transferred money six times from GCET to the city’s treasury account between December 2016 and August 2017 without his authorization, totaling $1,847,948.47.

According to Braccia, the bill schedules, which are weekly lists of bills presented by department heads for payment by the accounting department, were all OK’d by Kelley.

“Never did we move any money that wasn’t signed off on a bill schedule from the general manager, ever,” Braccia said.

“I have copies of these bill schedules. I have receipts. I have copies of every single one he signed off on,” she added.

Braccia said the money was taken from GCET after the city gave the quasi-municipal agency $1.7 million to cover bills, including start-up costs, between July and November 2016.

“We spent the $1.7 million for GCET by the end of November (2016), so we were replenishing the city coffers for what we spent on GCET,” she said.

According to Braccia and the lawsuit, the city borrowed $2.5 million in October 2016 and January 2017 on behalf of GCET to cover these bills and start-up costs. This money was put into GCET’s account, with a portion of that money to be used to pay back the $1.7 million the city previously covered.

Braccia said a portion of this money was expected to pay back the city’s contributions, which she said is not uncommon for capital projects like GCET.

Kelley’s lawsuit also alleged that the city’s finance department did not approve several payments authorized by him, including employee and petty cash reimbursements, vendor costs and attorney’s fees.

Braccia said all of these costs, except for petty cash, were approved after Kelley gave additional documentation about the expenses. The petty cash requests were “non-allowable expenses” such as food and coffee, Braccia said, and totaled $108.89.

You can reach Dan Desrochers at:

413-772-0261, ext. 257


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