Published in the March 31, 2016 edition


NORTH READING — The administrative and criminal investigations into the town’s Department of Public Works are both continuing and there have been no changes in anyone’s status, Town Administrator Michel Gilleberto said Monday. One  DPW employee remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations and the number of resignations remains at nine.

Although it has been well–reported that former DPW Director Richard Carnevale, who resigned, was not involved in the DPW investigation, Selectman Stephen O’Leary emphasized that fact again and said it’s important that all the remaining DPW workers still on the job and keeping the department running be given the respect they deserve.

“I would hope we’d be able to disclose more of the facts as soon as possible. It’s very unfair for our town employees to be painted by a broad brush unnecessarily. Maybe people have more facts than I do but it appears to me we have an internal controls issue here and some individuals that have some personal issues that needed to be addressed but we don’t have a department full of drug dealers. That’s not the case,” O’Leary said.

He asked people to “wait for everything to come out and find out what the facts are” and that unfounded “chatter” is further “maligning the reputation of the DPW, town employees, this administration, this board unfairly. We need to be careful and choose our words carefully and support the employees we have and have all been hurt by this.”

“For those people who have resigned and need some help, I hope they get that.”

Selectmen Chairman Robert Mauceri agreed “it’s a sad situation”

“The sooner all the details are out, the better. I understand it’s a police investigation and they’re still working on it. In the meantime we as a board need to stay in support of our town employees who continue to do a great job. A number of them have stepped up to fill the void,” Mauceri said.

Prior to this discussion and before the board went into executive session to discuss the investigation, Selectman Jeff Yull recalled that when he previously served on the Board, he often called for audits of the big three departments in town, the police, fire and DPW.

Yull wanted full audits of all three departments on a rotating five years schedule. He said now that if it had been done when he suggested it, the current situation may not have happened. He asked the other member of the board to consider implementing an auditing process “so we can be sure everything is being done in a way that it should be.”

O’Leary replied that it all depends on what kind of audit Yull is talking about.

“The numbers are what they are and those are looked at on a regular basis in the town’s financial audits. If you’re talking about a compliance audit, that’s something else and so is an internal controls audit.”