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Residents Push to Have Hamilton Town Attorney Replaced

A letter signed by 20 Hamilton residents was brought to the Board of Selectmen on Monday night, asking that Town Counsel not be reappointed and that legal services be put out to bid.

A group of Hamilton residents asked the Board of Selectmen on Monday night to not reappoint the town’s attorney, Donna Brewer.

North Street resident Jay Burnham read a two-page letter to the board – signed by a total of 20 residents – “and supported by many others,” Burnham said.

“As a result of her actions, Attorney Brewer has forfeited the trust, respect and confidence of the community and appropriately, she should be terminated as Town Counsel,” the letter stated.

A complete copy of the letter is attached to this story as a PDF.

Burnham said that the so-called Urbelis report, prepared nearly three years ago to determine Brewer’s role in police department problems at the time – – “determined that Ms. Brewer did in fact willfully and without justifiable excuse act in an inappropriate and culpable manner,” Burnham said. “Citizens are understandably outraged.”

Brewer, a Hamilton resident, has lost the town money in lost and settled lawsuits, Burnham said, including a lawsuit by former Police Officer Michael Marchand . The settlement was paid by the town’s insurance company and it is unclear what extent the settlement may affect the town’s premium.

The board was asked to put the town’s legal services out to bid.

Board Chairman David Neill said the issue was not on the board’s agenda for Monday night and the board could not discuss it further.

“This is not the forum to discuss what he just brought up,” Neill said, later adding; “We will take it under advisement.”

Brewer was not in attendance. In a previous interview with Hamilton-Wenham Patch, she said she hopes to continue to work as town counsel.

“I’m willing, able and happy to keep serving the town,” Brewer said last month. “I enjoy the work and I will serve as long as the town wants me.”

Brewer’s term as town counsel expired on June 30 and Town Manager Michael Lombardo has recommended that she be reappointed.

Two years ago, Brewer told Selectmen that she did not wish to be reappointed. But her request was rejected and she was kept as town attorney as the board transitioned from three members to five members and new Town Manager Michael Lombardo, the town’s first ever town manager, started work.

Last week, Burnham sought to have Brewer’s reappointment added as an agenda item for Monday night’s meeting. Lombardo said that he would not add it as an agenda item and instead encouraged Burnham to meet with him and provide any additional information that Lombardo would need to make the decision. Instead, Burnham brought it up during the public comment section on Monday at , when residents can address the board on items that are not otherwise on the agenda.

Lombardo was on vacation on Monday and not in attendance at the meeting.

Previously, Lombardo said he supports Brewer’s reappointment.

The Urbelis report, he said, did not show that Brewer acted as a ”rogue agent” during the time in question.

“There’s no smoking gun I could really point to,” Lombardo said.

eieham July 03, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Attorney Urbelis showed that Brewer did willfully act in an inappropriate and culpable manner with officer Karen Wallace and officer Arthur Hatfield to destroy the career and life of police officer Michael Marchand. The inappropriate actions are further exposed in several other reports and did resulted in a lost law suit. The town must act on this information now.
Robert Foringer July 03, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Lombardo 'the little General' vs Burnham The Pitbull......going to be epic!!!!
Ron Powell July 03, 2012 at 12:20 PM
From the Pomeroy Report: "By now it becomes even more apparent that Wallace was no longer simply an informant or whistleblower. It appears that Wallace had become an investigator for, and close confidant of, Town counsel." (p. 72) "One of the most disturbing e-mails from Wallace to MacKenna takes place on May 11, 2007 when Wallace inquires "When is Mike going to the therapy program for anger management? And how do we get the background information on Mike to the therapist. By letter or would someone from the town speak to them in person and share everyones (sic) concerns? I can put an outline together on behavior issues I have seen and a'history on his past ifthat would be helpful?" (p. 73)
Ron Powell July 03, 2012 at 12:20 PM
On September 10, 2007, MacKenna sends such an outline of "behavior issues" to the Town Administrator to be forwarded to a named doctor. MacKenna cautions the Town Administrator that "the accuracy of the descriptions has not been verified." (p. 73) In a telling e-mail that conveys the extent of the relationship between Wallace and MacKenna, Wallace states that she will not be able to park the cruiser in MacKenna's neighborhood any longer as the "neighbors are very very nosy." There are other e-mails that discuss having dinner together and the sending of a birthday card. (p. 74)
Ron Powell July 03, 2012 at 12:22 PM
The subject matter of the correspondence between Wallace and Town counsel was Officer Michael Marchand and Chief Walter Cullen. The correspondence demonstrates a serious effort was undertaken to have Marchand and or Cullen prosecuted criminally and to remove them from their employment. It appears that regulations, rules and policies of the police department were violated by Wallace and Hatfield. Labor counsel would need to examine each specific incident described above and make a legal determination ifthe protections afforded "whistleblowers" encompasses any of the activities of Wallace and Hatfield. (p. 74) However, even if some of the actions of Hatfield and Wallace are not afforded "whistleblower", or First Amendment protection, and are deemed to be violations of the Department's Rules and Regulations, I must agree with the conclusion reached in the Hayes report wherein he states: "Board discretion for disciplinary action in this case, even if otherwise indicated, may be limited by the involvement of Town counsel in the actions of Wallace." (p. 75)
Eileen DeAngelis July 03, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Keeping Brewer as town councel is rewarding bad behavior.I questioned the same as in Jay's letter...What are our premiums going to rise to,in order to cover that settlement? We/the taxpayers pay for Brewer and the higher premium as well.Sound like a good deal to you?
Mary July 03, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I read here that detective Marchand was going to anger management programs, did this result from the information investigator Wallace discovered? I would also point out that it is not fun to look into actions done by someone you work with and from TV we see that investigating another police officer is not something cops like to do. So could it be Wallace was ordered to investigate him? I knew Mike Marchand both from reputation and spoke with him briefly at the court. I felt that he was very caring and fair but also firm. From what others say he was the cop you would want on the beat to keep crime down but the kids called him RoboCop for a reason. He could seem intimidating I am certain but I know people who knew him and swear he was the gentle giant with a firm stance on crime who was an asset to Hamilton but was there an underlying issue that we don't know about? I have not read the private investigators reports so could one of the more informed readers ring in on this please?
Margo Killoran July 03, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I agree with the sentiments above, but if you really feel that this needs more focus by the town manager and the selectmen, you need to step forward and communicate your difference of opinion to them. Because this is only one of a few "lose ends" from this affair (i.e. Cullen and Wallace) and anonymous comments carry little weight, and as they should, with those making the decisions. See Jay's blog for more comments... http://northshoreliving.blogspot.com/2012/07/hamilton-deserves-better.html
Margo Killoran July 03, 2012 at 05:41 PM
PS: Not that's there's that many anonymous ones here... but posting comments online don't carry much weight when asking for change either. Just a suggestion ;-)
OtherPD July 03, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Just go and google the Pomeroy and the Hayes reports. Marchand's actions were looked at by both and it was shown he was a super cop and didn't do anything wrong and this is why Hamilton paid him a million bucks to settle that suit. He was told to go and see doctors because Wallace, Dupray and Hatfield made false accusations about him to harm his career but in the end the doctors came back in his defense and he was shown to be fine and the others were lying. It was a case of character assassination for power plain and simple.
Imanonymous July 03, 2012 at 07:03 PM
This is true Ms. Killoran but this article demonstrates the damage Hamilton officials can inflict towards people they want to harm. I for one have no intention of having town attorney Brewer or police officer Wallace or Hatfield decide that I am going to be their next victim! I think the numerous articles of malicious acts by these people should give rise to serious concern.
Margo Killoran July 03, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I understand your point, as Hamilton has a long and frustrating history of this kind of abuse, from our "Mayflower" friends, to police chiefs, to town committees. On the other hand, people can only be bullies if they are allowed to be so. Silence is the best friend of any kind of abuse. As my comment in Jay's blog states... "To keep her [Donna Brewer] on not only denies citizens and victims some closure but it sustains the appearance (if not the culture) of small groups of people controlling what really happens in town government without the input of the constituency and consideration of the democratic process." Be part of the process! When you look behind the curtain, these people have a lot less power than they want you to think.
Ron Powell July 04, 2012 at 12:44 AM
The problem, Imanonymous, is that readers will see that all of these anonymous comments here are hit-and-runs -- all from newly created accounts who seem to have been created for the sole purpose of commenting on this story -- and people will naturally grow suspicious and wonder if it is just a single individual posting under multiple fake aliases, all around the same time and with the same spelling mistakes. I'm not at all suggesting that there is sockpuppeting going on here, but you will understand how some might perceive it that way. Even many people posting exactly once and all saying the same thing is far less effective than one person who sticks around.
Jay Burnham July 04, 2012 at 01:04 PM
From Pomeroy Report regarding Town Counsel Brewer's (McKenna) role in the Marchand controversy and unauthorized and inappropriate "investigation": "In late April 2007, in an e-mail to Wallace from Town counsel, counsel relates that the Assistant District Attorney has no knowledge of any incidents involving Marchand that should a be a concern to the Town. MacKenna ends her message to Wallace by apologizing with a "Sorry." This one word reply could easily lead a reader to believe that counsel and Wallace were actually disappointed that they did not uncover information with which to either prosecute Marchand criminally or take administrative action such as termination or suspension from duty. This one word reply could also infer that the investigators possessed pre-conceived notions about the outcome of their inquiry. Wallace replies that it is "discouraging that they complain about Mike but no one wants to do anything about it. " MacKenna then replies that Marchand "has done a good job of preempting any negative comments", thereby apparently insinuating that Marchand has either obstructed justice or tampered with the investigation. Wallace asks that MacKenna call her after her meeting in Executive Session with the Selectmen. MacKenna agrees to call. By now it becomes even more apparent that Wallace was no longer simply an informant or whistleblower. It appears that Wallace had become an investigator for, and close confidant of, Town counsel."
Hamiltonite July 04, 2012 at 02:19 PM
What would John Adams do? Bye Brewer.
Nancy July 05, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Then why is Wallace still on the force and patrolling our streets?? Just wondering
Jay Burnham July 06, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Nancy...perhaps because Wallace's behavior was sanctioned by Ms. Brewer, acting as Town Counsel. The Hayes and Pomeroy Reports seem to support this conclusion.

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