NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 14, 2013

County attorney challenges his suspension

Court hearing set for today

(Continued)

Coyle and fellow Commissioner Thomas Tombarello said the three-member panel met with Boffetti on Tuesday afternoon and were told about $70,000 in uncashed checks were found in the county attorney’s office during the investigation. Boffetti met with police officials throughout the county Friday.

Although there was no impropriety involved, the commissioners said it was irresponsible to have uncashed checks, some received in July, left in the office. Boffetti could not be reached yesterday for comment.

“That’s bad practice and it won’t happen again,” Tombarello said.

Coyle criticized Reams’ management of the office and for taking four trips a year to conferences around the country, costing nearly $10,000 a year, he said.

“No other department heads take the trips he does,” Coyle said. “The fact that stuff in your office isn’t getting done — you shouldn’t be going on these trips.”

But Ramsdell said Reams attended the conferences only after receiving approval from county commissioners. Some trips were funded by outside agencies and at no cost to county taxpayers, he said.

Reams was at a National District Attorneys Association conference in Texas when informed of his suspension. He declined to comment and said he was trying to sort out the details.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” he said last week.

Coyle praised Boffetti for his handling of the office since taking over last week.

“He relieved our concerns, most of them financial,” Coyle said. “He saved a $30,000 grant for the county.”

Boffetti discovered Reams never applied for a federal grant that would have paid half of a victim advocate’s annual salary, Coyle said.

Even though the application deadline passed months ago, Boffetti made some phone calls and the county still has a good chance of getting the Violence Against Women Act grant, Coyle said.

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