By The Advocate
City officials are disputing a press report alleging that the city made a secret $300,000 settlement for a harassment dispute at the Wellness Center. The Everett Leader Herald has been reporting that an employee of the Wellness Center, after having been harassed this year, received a $300,000 settlement which had been personally negotiated by Mayor Carlo DeMaria. City officials, while acknowledging that a harassment case had occurred this year, stated that the claims of $300,000 were a fabrication.
“It does not exist,” said Assistant City Solicitor Keith Slattery. “The story is not true in any way shape or form. … There are no negotiations, there are no settlement amounts, the mayor is not ready to take any action on anything; in fact, there are no claims with the city, the MCAD [Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination] or the Superior Court.”
Mayoral Chief of Staff Kevin O’Donnell called the $300,000 figure “a complete falsehood” and said that no “discussions of that figure, or any other figure, have been discussed.”
Slattery stated said that while there had been a claim of harassment at the Wellness Center this year, it was investigated, and after conducting interviews with everyone involved, the city performed some mediation and took action. At this point, the City of Everett considers the case to be closed. Slattery could not elaborate any further, as details of such a personnel matter cannot legally be discussed publicly, but he noted that “taking action” could constitute “moving people from certain departments, changing schedules, or enacting discipline. But actions were taken and the matter was closed.”
Several councillors expressed frustration with what the city officials have called false reporting. “I don’t understand how we can allow a paper in the City of Everett to constantly, constantly go after City Hall and get away with it,” said Ward 5 Councillor Rosa DiFlorio. “How can they sit there and print lies and just get away with it? I say enough is enough. We’ve had it with this paper. I don’t like negativity. I don’t like this in our city, and I’m not going to advertise with them ever again. I hope they get it now and that’s it.”