NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 30, 2013

Voters to be asked to pay fine

ROWLEY – While the finite details of the events surrounding the alleged butchering of deer at Well #3 on Boxford Road by water department employees remain unclear, what is certain is that the residents of the town are going to pay for the “egregious and atrocious actions” of the two perpetrators.

Residents will decide via an article on the town warrant at the May 6 Town Meeting whether to approve the transfer of funds from the water enterprise fund to pay for the $15,875 fine from the DEP for two violations related to the incident, which happened late last year.

Both employees resigned during the week of March 11, after being on paid administrative leave while the environmental police investigation was being conducted. According to the 2010 Town Report, the annual salaries for Masse and Kneeland were $89,005 and $75,059, respectively. While these operators were out, said water board commissioner Scott Martin, the town had to hire representatives of Weston & Sampson, the engineering firm that is working with the town on the new water treatment plant, to cover for the staffing regulations in the water department.

“I am horrified and disgusted that our own primary and secondary water operators would do what has been alleged,” said Martin. “It is just inconceivable. I didn’t have any part in the incident, yet I feel ashamed being associated as a board member. I hope the DEP revokes their licenses. They should never work in water management again.”

As for Masse and Kneeland, who could not be reached for comment, according to the Division of Professional Licensure, they still hold licenses to be operators for a water department. When asked about additional charges being filed against Masse and Kneeland, Ed Coletta, a spokesman for Mass. DEP, said that it was possible that the DEP could file a complaint against them once they review all the documentation further. He also said that the town and even the residents could file complaints too.

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