By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BRISTOL — The Grafton County Attorney’s Office has confirmed that it is conducting an investigation into allegations against former Bristol Police Chief Michael Lewis.
The Bristol Board of Selectmen placed Lewis on paid administrative leave on Sept. 5, and Lewis resigned from the job on Oct. 4. The selectmen offered no reason for placing Lewis on leave and they refused to release a copy of his letter of resignation.
Members of the Grafton County Sheriff’s Department are reported to be questioning the 11 officers who have resigned from the Bristol Police Department over the past 3 years, although Sheriff Douglas Dutile referred any questions about the investigation to County Attorney Laura Saffo. She was not in the office on Friday afternoon, but Special Services Investigator Wayne Fortier was able to confirm the investigation.
Residents have been increasingly critical of the Bristol selectmen for withholding any information about personnel they have placed on paid leave or dismissed. The selectmen had placed former Fire Chief Steve Yannuzzi on paid leave for several months before reaching a confidential settlement that ended with Yannuzzi’s resignation.
In both Lewis’s and Yannuzzi’s situation, the selectmen issued a statement saying, “The Town takes very seriously its obligation to protect the privacy rights of employees and former employees, and as a result the Select Board will not be commenting further.”
Resident Paul Simard filed a Right-To-Know request for information about Lewis’ earnings and the turnover in the police department. Town Administrator Nik Coates responded that Lewis had earned $58,474.40 in regular pay, $8,252.53 in overtime pay, and $1,280 from special-duty assignments this year, as of Sept. 18.
The document also identified six officers who resigned in 2016 and 2017. One of them, Jonathan Francis, who now works for the Franklin Police Department, filed a federal lawsuit against the town, seeking compensation for all of the hours he spent at the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training facility. As part of the lawsuit, he alleged unprofessional behavior by Lewis and sloppy operating procedures in the department. Francis also alleged that, after he applied for work in Franklin and the city was conducting a background check, Lewis placed false information in his personnel folder in an effort to make sure he would not be hired.
- Written by Tom Caldwell
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 3077