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Suspended Newton police chief wants public hearing

Posted by Tom Coakley  September 6, 2012 05:12 PM

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Suspended Newton Police Chief Matthew Cummings plans to fight accusations of unbecoming behavior and will be asking that his dismissal hearing be held in public, said his lawyer Timothy M. Burke, of Needham.
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“We’re not afraid of the truth and he has nothing to hide,” Burke said in an interview on Thursday.

Burke said Cummings disputes assertions that he made derogatory comments to Jeanne Sweeney Mooney, his former secretary, and two other women in the department. During his more than 30-year career, Cummings, hasn’t been the subject of an inappropriate language or behavior complaint, until now, Burke said.

Mayor Setti Warren last week announced that he placed Cummings on paid administrative leave and had started proceedings to fire him after a report indicated that the chief’s comments and behavior could be perceived as offensive.

Newton officials asked for an investigation after Mooney, who is alleged to have taken money from the department, filed a complaint against the city and Cummings.

Newton intends to hold a hearing for Cummings within the next month, although a date hasn’t been set, said Donnalyn Kahn, the city solicitor.

Burke said he will also ask that both the city and his client choose an impartial person to hear the case.

Under the terms of Cummings’ contract, the mayor or his designee, likely somebody within the city’s executive department, serves as the hearing officer, and the city intends to follow that protocol, Kahn said.

“He can ask what he wants, we’re going to follow the contract,” Kahn said.

Newton’s interim chief is Howard Mintz, a captain in the department’s traffic division


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