|Four Framingham police officers on paid leave||September 9, 2016|
|Jim Haddadin 617-863-7144||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM - The number of Framingham police officers who continue to earn a
paycheck while temporarily relieved of their duties now stands at four.
Chief Ken Ferguson confirmed Thursday that four members of his department are now on paid administrative leave, including a deputy chief, a lieutenant, a narcotics detective and a patrolman.
Ferguson said the latest employment changes include a decision within the last two weeks to place Detective Matthew Gutwill on leave. Lt. Vincent Stuart was also pl aced on leave about one month ago, while veteran Patrolman Duarte Calvao went on l eave sometime earlier this year, Ferguson said.
Ferguson said the matters are not criminal, but declined to comment on the circumstances, saying they are the subject of unrelated internal personnel investigations.
The three officers join Deputy Chief Kevin Slattery, who has been on the sidelines amid a personnel investigation since May. The town's lawyer said previously that Slattery, the head of operations for the police department, was placed on leave "due to an alleged improper verbal comment he made regarding a subordinate."
While he acknowledged that having four officers out of service hampers the police department, Ferguson said he has few alternatives.
"We don't want to be down any officers ..." Ferguson said, "but sometimes when you're dealing with personnel issues, it requires that you put people on an (administrative) leave, and that's what we do."
A growing list of town employees have been paid this year for time away from work. They include Framingham's highest paid employee, school Superintendent Stacy Scott. The school district announced in late August that Scott is taking a long-term leave of absence. Scott will continue to be paid while he sits out the start of the school year, though it's unclear whether he will earn his full annual salary of more than $255,000.
The town also paid former police Officer Alan Dubeshter more than $40,000 while he was on administrative leave for more than seven months.
Dubeshter, the former supervisor of the police department's evidence room, was rel ieved of duty in September 2015 after the department was notified that authorities had discovered envelopes from the department in his personal vehicle, according t o the town's lawyer.
Investigators subsequently launched a probe into an undisclosed amount of money th at went missing from the evidence room. Dubeshter, who has not been publicly ident ified as a suspect in the case, resigned from the department in April 2016.
Ferguson said his decision to place the other four officers on leave is entirely unrelated to the evidence room investigation. The circumstances in each case are also unrelated to one another, he said.
The town's human resources director was not available Thursday to answer questions regarding the dates each officer was placed on leave, or the sums they'll be paid while they're off the job.
According to town salary records, Slattery earned $142,028 last year, while Stuart earned close to $131,000, including a little more than $1,900 in detail pay.
The two other officers on leave also earned six-figure salaries last year, accordi ng to town records.
Calvao was paid $139,140 last year, including more than $29,000 for working detail s. Gutwill earned $153,820 last year, including more than $15,000 in detail pay.
Efforts Thursday to reach the four officers and the heads of police unions represe nting three of the officers were unsuccessful. Dennis Coyne, a lawyer with the fir m McDonald Lamond Canzoneri, which represents the Framingham Police Officers Union , said he could not comment on the matter.
"I haven't been authorized to say anything on behalf of the union," Coyne said.
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