NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 29, 2013

Gorski isn't fit to serve as selectman

Groveland Selectman Elizabeth Gorski used her elected position to threaten the police chief and others over the status of her son’s job, according to an investigation by the state Ethics Commission.

For this betrayal of the voters’ trust and violation of conflict-of-interest laws, Gorski should resign.

The investigation was triggered by a complaint filed with the Ethics Commission by police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz because of the “persecution” he said he endured from Gorski over his treatment of her son, police Officer Eric Gorski.

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

Kirmelewicz had placed Eric Gorski on paid administrative leave in 2011. In January 2012, Eric Gorski was taken off paid leave and placed on sick leave, forcing him to use up sick time to continue to be paid, according to the ethics report. Kirmelewicz restored Eric Gorski to active duty last July. The police chief would not discuss the reason for Gorski’s leave, other than to say it was “not disciplinary in nature” and that it has been resolved.

The ethics investigation found that Elizabeth Gorski pressured Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen, her fellow Selectmen Donald Greaney and William Darke, and the president of the police union to have her son restored to active duty.

The investigation found that Gorski repeatedly used her position to pressure town officials to rectify her son’s employment status, even threatening Kirmelewicz and Gillen’s jobs.

“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.

One incident involved Gorski approaching Gillen in a Georgetown restaurant and badgering him about her son’s status. Gorski reminded Gillen that his contract renewal was coming up, the report said.

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