Perry hires new, acting police chief in Methuen

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Bill Kirk, The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
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Apr. 1—METHUEN — Retired Westford police Chief Thomas McEnaney has been hired as the acting chief of the embattled Police Department, Mayor Neil Perry said Thursday.

McEnaney, a 35-year police veteran and chief in Westford for 14 years, was hired through the same consulting group — Muncipal Resources Inc., or MRI — that put up retired Andover Chief Brian Pattullo for the acting chief's job in Salem, New Hampshire, while that city deliberated on the hiring of their new chief.

Perry said he was signing the contract Thursday but would not reveal the salary. He said that the new acting chief would be making less than the last chief.

Former Chief Joseph Solomon was earning $300,000 to nearly $400,000 a year. Exact figures have not been available.

A local media outlet reported the new, acting chief would be making $108 an hour, the equivalent, for a 40-hour workweek, of almost $225,000 a year.

McEnaney takes over for acting Chief Kris McCarthy, whose job as acting chief expired after 90 days — which was Wednesday.

"The acting chief's 90 days were up," Perry said, adding that the two-month appointment could be extended, given City Council approval. In the meantime, he said, "We are going to have an active search committee for a new, full-time chief."

McEnaney is not eligible to apply for the permanent chief's position, Perry said.

"That is one of the conditions of the contract," he noted.

"I feel very good about this hire," he said, adding that City Councilor Mike Simard, a police officer in Lawrence, also interviewed McEnaney.

Simard has been highly critical of McCarthy, calling him an ally of former police Chief Joseph Solomon, who was placed on leave following allegations of favoritism, creating a toxic work environment, and other issues that were revealed in a state Inspector General's report and an independent audit paid for by taxpayers of the city.

This is a developing story. Read more about it in tomorrow's edition of The Eagle-Tribune and on eagletribune.com.