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BREAKING: Mayor Calls for Leadership over Police Chief Flap

Monday, March 26, 2012

 

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty, in a statement just released today, has called for officials to stop talking about the controversy surrounding an alleged move by city councilors to oust Police Chief Gary Gemme.

“The City Manager and I are working together to address the issues raised by the City Council,” Petty said.  “In the meantime, I am urging all parties to take a step back from discussing this issue publicly. This is not going to be solved through the media or on the City Council floor; it will require leadership by all.”

The mayor referenced what became a political firestorm over the past several days when it was learned that several councilors may have been working the phones and talking to the city manager about relieving Gemme of his duties

“Clearly, what has transpired over the past week has created a distraction, but we can’t let these issues get in the way of our ability to lead, govern and most importantly, serve the citizens of Worcester,” Petty said.

It was the first public statement from either the mayor or City Manager Michael O’Brien about the issue. Media reports have quoted a statement by Gemme saying he received an e-mail from O’Brien, in which the manager offered his full support.
Attempts to obtain a copy that statement have been unsuccessful.

GoLocalWorcester has asked for a comment from O’Brien.

While the situation came to a head last week, the wrangling over Gemme has gone on for some time. The fallout has been noticeable and dramatic, with the city earlier this month clarifying its social media policy.
Councilor Tony Economou was among those who took issue with Gemme for using his Twitter account to express personal opinions or respond to critics, telling GoLocalWorcester last week, “I don’t care for it. I don’t particularly care for any department head tweeting or on Facebook.”
Economou said he has discussed it with the city manager.

GoLocalWorcester will post any updates to this story as they occur. Read more about the issue tomorrow on GoLocalWorcester.com.

 

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