Revere City Solicitor Paul Capizzi was at the City Council meeting this week to update councillors on a request for information about the city’s Police Department.
Late last summer, the council agreed with Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo’s proposal to discuss issues involving the city’s Police Department in executive session, or a private, closed-door meeting. Rizzo proposed that the council review Revere’s guidelines for chiefs of police as well as the results of a consultant hired in 2017 to assess job candidates. Rizzo also requested that Mayor Brian Arrigo appear before the council to discuss any prior or current allegations of misconduct against the current police chief and any financial settlements resulting from those allegations. In addition, Rizzo asked that Arrigo provide the council with a list of disciplinary actions taken against members of the Police Department, including terminations, suspensions and reasons for them.
Capizzi told councillors that the information is being compiled and he intends to present it at an upcoming meeting in December or January. He added that complications involving advertising and scheduling of executive session meetings and the requirement to inform any subject of an executive session of his right to attend the meeting has made it challenging to respond to Rizzo’s request.
Nevertheless, Rizzo thanked Capizzi for the update and said he asked for a detailed account following Boston news reports about lawsuits and settlements regarding Revere police. Rizzo said councillors, who are supposed to understand how the city operates, should not learn about lawsuits and settlements through news reports.
“If we’re making numerous settlements for numerous police officers, as I’ve been told, I think we have a right to understand where our tax dollars are being spent and why they are being spent the way they are,” said Rizzo, who added that if the city is spending tax dollars on settlements, there’s got to be a problem somewhere that has to be addressed.
Capizzi stressed that any discussion of a city employee’s reputation, character, physical condition or mental health should take place in executive session. While those requirements have made sorting out what can be discussed in open meeting and what must be kept in executive session complicated, Capizzi assured councillors that work on gathering the information has been ongoing and the request is not languishing.