Letter: Asking for Investigation into Corruption (Updated)

[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to mysouthborough@gmail.com. In this case, David Parry asked me to publish his open letter to the Police Chief (and copied to the State Offices of Inspector General and Attorney General) plus his attached document. I have linked the attachments at the bottom of the letter.]

Chief Newell,

Welcome aboard. I look forward to working with you.

I was previously a Selectman in the 1990’s, and have been on most other town committees in that past 40 years.

In terms of fighting corruption, I do have some qualifications:
I was previously Director of Programming.
Division of Capital Planning and Operations, State of Mass.
This agency, DCPO, was established by the State Legislature in 1982.
Its purpose was to combat corruption in State construction projects.
This resulted from the Ward Commission report, in 1980.
The report detailed numerous episodes of corruption in State projects
(eg state courts, prisons, offices, university campus buildings, etc).
The recommendations included a radical reform of the design and construction operations of the State.
You can search for: Ward Commission report, for more information.

I am including(as a component part of this letter), a two page description of the corruption on this project.
This handout was distributed to the Selectboard at a meeting on Dec 20, 2022.
Just as I expected, I was given only 3 minutes, no more, to present this complex matter.
So I came prepared, with a two page handout, describing it in more detail.

The Selectboard is not taking this matter seriously. Unfortunately, that is a fact.
At the Dec 20 meeting, they have brushed me off, just as they have repeatedly swept aside accusations from other residents.
Incredibly, later in the same meeting, Chair Kathy Cook had the gall to heap praise on the former DPW Superintendent, Karen Galligan, even though the Selectboard had recently refused to renew her employment contract because of deep unhappiness with Galligan’s performance. It is common knowledge throughout Town, because of the notoriety of several DPW cases, that the non-renewal of contract is really a polite way of being fired, for cause.

[Editor’s Note: I added a comment clarifying that Karen Galligan’s contract was renewed this summer.]*

This has placed Galligan is in an intentionally difficult position, preventing her from telling the truth about corruption. This is because she is utterly dependent on maintaining good relations with the Selectboard, and especially with the Town Administrator, Mark Purple, because she needs good letters of recommendation in order to get a new job.

Furthermore, Chief Newell, I bring to your attention a previous meeting, held during “Selectboard Office Hours” on Wednesday Dec 14, at Town Hall, with Chair Kathy Cook and Selectboard member Lisa Braccio. I was given about 20 to 30 minutes to describe a complex web of corruption in this town: This corruption includes:

1. Two cases of conflict of interest, with serious ethics violations.
2. Several instances of fraudulent lying and false claims about the need for a government project, to be funded by tax receipts, in an effort to cover up the conflicts of interest.
3. Illegal expenditure of state grant money on inelegible items, to such a notorious extent that the State has actually demanded return of the grant money, and our town has been banned from receiving any more state grants.
4. Deliberate efforts to conceal the wishes of the State Funding Agency, about the State’s preferred location of a pocket park to be built with State funds.
5. Deliberate efforts by the Town Administrator, Mark Purple, to obfuscate and make incredibly time-consuming, the discovery of official documents (particularly their Attachments) concerning his participation in this project, which has been even deeper than the DPW..(Ironically — and conveniently for him, at his urging some years ago — this Town of Southborough is almost UNIQUE in placing the Town Administrator in charge of Official Documents. Normally that function is handled by the Town Clerk’s Office).

That is a very brief summary of the hidden scandals of this project.

I think it would be helpful for you, Chief Newell, to start your understanding of the complex corruption as follows — start by reading two new articles that were published on Dec 20, 2022, in MySouthborough, the local blog. Search under MySouthborough.com, for these terms:
“Corruption”
“St Marks Road Project”
“Parry”
“Weishan”

On Dec 20, there was one letter is from Michael Weishan, headlined “Corruption”.
That is followed by a comment from me, David Parry.
That is followed by another comment from another person.
I am sure there will be many more, new comments from other residents to follow.
You will begin to understand the growing fury which the residents of this town have for this scandalous behavior of our officials.

I can imagine that this project and its scandals may be a surprise to you, but it has been simmering here, for three years, with deep anger.
Two Town Meetings have resoundingly defeated this project by overwhelming margins.
Yet it continues to be rammed ahead by certain Town Officials, for unclear reasons.
Very few want this project. Nobody needs it.
This town should NEVER have offered a “free” parking lot to St Marks School.
But to do so with false, fake “justification of need” makes it worse.
St Marks School did not ask for this project, and now they are embarrassed to learn of the seamy underbelly.
Why they haven’t withdrawn already, is a mystery.
They could certainly avoid the coming wrath of Town Meeting, if they pulled the plug now.

Town Meeting is scheduled for March 24, for a vote on a “land swap”.
This has ZERO chance of being approved.
It has already been slammed shut twice, by overwhelming margins.
Yet our Selectboard, for some reason, continues to ram it through. Why?

This project should never have been started, and it was corrupted from the very start. See the Handout.
Now there is a cover-up going on, to cover the initial misdeeds.
Yet our Selectboard is doing absolutely nothing about — SO FAR.

Chief Newell, please read and study the 2 pages below, which summarize the corruption.
The material in these two pages come from many different sources.
I have taken a great deal of trouble to carefully edit the pages for accuracy.
Please read, study and think — about what you can do, how, and whose help you will need, because it is obvious you are going to be caught in a political and administrative nightmare. Because the Selectboard is your boss, and they are now involved in the corruption and cover up.
Then call me. I will fill you in on more details. My Telephone number is below.

And there is one other very serious, past matter, that I also want to examine with you, in depth — a matter of denial of Constitutional Rights, which I want to brief you on, so that you can take appropriate action. I have already reviewed this matter with the Attorney General’s Office, as a preliminary step. The next step requires you participation and research. More on that later … the priority issue right now is the corruption on the St Marks Road project.

Sincerely

David Parry
22 Main Street
774 249 8544

Attached document itemizing the “5 Offenses”

*Updated (9/29/22 12:25 pm): As I noted above and clarify in the comments, Mr. Parry’s statement than Ms. Galligan’s contract was not renewed is inaccurate.

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Beth Melo
1 month ago

As John Butler highlighted to me, David Parry’s letter contains the statement, “the Selectboard had recently refused to renew her employment contract because of deep unhappiness with Galligan’s performance.”
That’s inaccurate.
My apologies for also getting the details wrong when I initially posted this comment. I remembered inaccurately that the Board had only committed to one year. That was in 2016 – which is the story I mistakenly linked. The most recent contract was approved for 3 years. You can read my coverage here.

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Beth Melo
1 month ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

I’m highlighting for anyone who read my earlier comment before I revised it, that I did revise it. (And I just noticed – and fixed – that part of the above comment that I thought I had deleted was mistakenly still included.) Once again, her contract was renewed for 3 years.

David Parry
1 month ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

I have just been informed that I was incorrect about the DPW Superintendent’s employment contract NOT being renewed. Ironically, the true facts are FAR MORE astonishing … in May 2022, the current Selectboard actually RENEWED her contract for a further year, at a salary of over $120,000.
This was voted in June 2022, at which time the Selectboard KNEW of the numerous fiascos on the St Marks Road project, and mis-management on other projects.
The vote was 4 – 0. Sam Stivers voted NO. The Chair was Lisa Braccio and she made the .motion to approve.
I recently tended a meeting of the Selectboard in December 2022, and an agenda item came up about DPW. Lisa Braccio stood up and left the room. I asked — WHY? The answer given was this: she has a major CONFLICT OF INTEREST, so she MUST leave the room, AND NOT PARTICIPATE ON DPW MATTERS OF ANY KIND. This is because a close family member apparently received about 70,000 in payment for services rendered ( I believe for snow plowing).
Now, back in about 2020, Lisa Braccio started an investigation against Michael Weishan. She publicly questioned his bill to the Town for services rendered to the Historical Commission. A sum of about $250 total. That followed closely after Michael was very vocal (and justifiably so) in ridiculing the St Marks Rd Project.
So this puts matters into very clear perspective indeed.
1. Selectboard member Lisa Braccio votes to approve the hiring of DPW Sup Galligan, while Galligan overseas the Braccio family’s snow plowing contract — an OBVIOUS conflict of interest.
2. Braccio acts vindictively to investigate Michael Weishan, after Weishan points out the many faults on Braccio’s pet project — the St Marks Rd Project — and she goes after his paltry payment of about $250 , which was earned legally, for services rendered.
3. The sum of money earned from DPW, under the direction of Galligan, by Braccio’s family is very significant (about $70,000). That is about 300 times greater than the paltry sum of about $250 paid to Michael Weishan.
Please will readers fill in the blanks here about the Braccio family earnings from DPW.
So that is now THREE conflicts of interest on this ONE project, as follows:
(1) The DPW Sup is an alumnus of St Marks.
(2) A former Selectman wore two hats … to negotiate higher PILOT tax payments from St Marks, AT THE SAME TIME AS devising a complex and unjustified scheme to create a “free” parking lot for St Marks.
(3) A current Selectboard member, whose family gets paid serious money by DPW Sup Galligan, actually votes to reappoint Galligan ! (Compounded by the well-known examples of Galligan’s mis-management of other projects, proving that she should NOT have been reappointed.)
CONCLUSION
What better example could you want, of the multiple conflicts of interest, AND IN-COMPETANCE of the majority on this Selectboard Board to manage our Town.

Ira Schild
1 month ago

Without Mr. Parry’s extensive participation in various elements of town governance and without detailed knowledge of the scope of responsibilities of the police department, but within earshot of some event to which multiple police and fire department crews are presently responding, I believe the primary responsibilities of those agencies are in the realm of public safety.
Has the Chief of Police the resources or expertise to investigate allegations of corruption in the discharge of town affairs? I do not know. I do know that some of the other entities with whom Mr. Parry has shared his concerns (Inspector General, Attorney General) seem much more appropriate to handle the matter, and I hope that his request does not distract our public safety agencies from the many issues that clearly do fall within their scope, and which they have managed so effectively in the several decades that I have resided here.
If, as implied, a referral to those agencies from the local police department is a procedural requirement, so be it. But in that case, what serious purpose is served by issuing an open letter rather than lodging a formal complaint?
Ira Schild, 11 John St.

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