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New London City Council's access to report it commissioned on Ackley complaint denied

By Kathleen Edgecomb

Publication: The Day

Published January 04. 2012 4:00AM   Updated January 04. 2012 1:38PM

New London - A report on allegations by the police chief that a former city councilor meddled in police business is complete, but the City Council has yet to see it.

City Attorney Jeffrey Londregan told the council Tuesday that former Superior Court Judge Beverly Hodgson has filed a written report on the allegations made by Chief Margaret Ackley against former City Councilor Michael Buscetto III.

But when the council asked for a copy, Londregan told them they would have to obtain a copy from the mayor.

"The council ordered that report, and you're not going to share it with us?'' council President Michael Passero said. "The council is the client.''

But Londregan said that under the new charter, "pending claims" fall under the mayor's authority, and it would be up to the mayor to release it. The report has been handed over to Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio.

Councilor Adam Sprecace, who said the council should be able to see the report, asked that a letter be sent to Finizio asking for a copy. His motion was approved unanimously.

"We sanctioned it. We need to see it when it's complete,'' Sprecace said after the meeting.

In October, the council hired Hodgson to look into Ackley's allegations.

Last summer, Ackley reached a retirement agreement with the city manager. At a City Council meeting in August, Ackley alleged that Buscetto was "causing her distress" by meddling in police affairs and that she was unable to do her job.

At that meeting, she threatened a lawsuit against the city and submitted a list of her complaints against Buscetto. That list has not been released to the public, and a Freedom of Information request The Day has filed is pending.

At the time of the allegations, Buscetto was a candidate for mayor. Ackley's agreement with the city allowed her to retire Dec. 31 but also included an "opt-out" clause which allowed her to change her mind before Dec. 15 and remain as chief. Buscetto lost the election, and Ackley opted not to retire.

When the council hired Hodgson, the city law director at the time, Thomas J. Londregan, said the report would not be made public because it falls under attorney-client privilege.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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