NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 28, 2013

State finds selectman violated ethic laws

GROVELAND — An investigation by the state Ethics Commission found Selectman Elizabeth Gorski violated conflict-of-interest laws by using her position to attempt to get her son restored to active duty after police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz placed the patrolman on paid administrative leave in 2011.

The ruling, essentially a charging document, said Gorski pressured Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen, her two selectman colleagues Donald Greaney and William Darke, and the president of the police union to see her son Eric Gorski restored to active duty.

The report by the Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division, released yesterday, also alleges that Gorski threatened the employment of Kirmelewicz and Gillen if they did not put her son back on the job. In an interview yesterday, Kirmelewicz acknowledged that he filed the complaint with the Ethics Commission that triggered its probe of Gorski.

“I filed the complaint because of the persecution that I was enduring as a result of trying to do the right thing,” the chief said.

The Ethics Commission has 90 days to schedule a hearing to consider the allegations and possible fines against Gorski, who was elected to her fifth consecutive three-year term on the Board of Selectmen last summer. Gorski has the right to bring a lawyer with her to the hearing to refute the allegations.

Messages left for Gorski at her home and at the selectmen’s office at Town Hall were not returned.

The investigation found that Gorski visited and called Gillen repeatedly to discuss her son’s situation, indicating she wanted Gillen to “fix it” and see her son restored to active duty.

“On a least two of those occasions, Gorski made reference to the chief’s and deputy chief’s employment contracts coming up for renewal by the Board of Selectmen,” the ruling said. In one instance, Gorski approached Gillen while he was at a Georgetown restaurant, the report said, noting this was the second time Gorski told Gillen that his contract coming up for renewal while pressuring him to “rectify the situation” regarding her son.

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