Accusing her of a “systematic campaign…to retaliate against and undermine the leadership of the union and intimidate union members,” the president of the New London Police Union has asked the City Council to investigate Chief Margaret Ackley.
Todd Lynch, president of the union, said in an Aug. 14 letter to Council President Michael Passero that Ackley has violated the duty manual as well as associated rules and regulations and city ordinances. Lynch asked that the investigation make its findings public and take any appropriate action on the determination.
The council voted unanimously on Tuesday to send the request to the Administration Committee for further discussion. Councilor Anthony Nolan, a police officer, recused himself from the vote.
Lynch said the union based this request on e-mails from Ackley to resident Kathleen Mitchell. In these messages, Ackley advised Mitchell to request personnel and disciplinary files on Lynch; Officer Charles Flynn, the union’s political director; Master Patrol Officer Roger Baker; Officer Cornelius Rodgers; and Officer Joshua Bergeson, who was in January.
Lynch also mentions the e-mails in a , which accuses her of acting against him in a retaliatory manner due to past disagreements with her. He said in the letter to Passero that residents may request disclosure of such materials under the Freedom of Information Act, but that he considered Ackley violated ordinances by:
- Seeking to “embarrass, humiliate, harass, and retaliate against the aforementioned officers.”
- Disclosing information under “morally questionable” circumstances while “many of the allegations are simply untrue.”
- Citing officers who “were active in union activity and appear to be targeted for reasons that are not fair or impartial.”
- Encouraging Mitchell to file FOI requests in an attempt “to influence employees not to participate in protected union activity.”
- Using city equipment and time to send e-mails that were not official city business.
- Using municipal equipment of facilities in an improper way.
“It is our belief that due to the sensitivity and possible conflicts of the allegations made herein, that the city should utilize an impartial investigator to conduct the investigation and issue its findings,” said Lynch. “As you are aware, Chief Ackley is the subject of multiple complaints by police department members and the union, and the union believes that it is incumbent upon the city through the City Council to complete a full investigation of the claims made against Chief Ackley in order to ensure the public safety of the citizens of New London.”
Lynch said a similar request was made to Finizio and the union was told that an investigation has been requested. However, he said the union is concerned that an investigation ordered by the mayor could be “insufficient.” Lynch said the union has not been informed of whether any investigation has started and that members are concerned that it could be too limited in scope and that an investigation by municipal officials or employees could be influenced by “conscious or unconscious biases.”