Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cop that stole from evidence room loses pension

So the pension board did the right thing in denying Officer Dubeshter his pension. I wasn't aware of a State provision that forbids police officers convicted of crimes related to their jobs from collecting retirements benefits. A good policy for all City employees. But the bigger question is, where and who has the difference to what was for to be stolen in an audit, 73k and the amount Dubeshter was convicted of stealing 19K. One can only conclude, others had easy access to the evidence room with a spare key hanging in close proximity. I would hope the paper press the City for reasonable answers to the question of where the the sum of 54k is accounted for. I seem to remember the Town Manger saying all the stolen money was accounted for last year at Town Meeting. If anyone remembers that.. hit me up.

 From the MWDN: Middlesex Superior Court Judge Jack Lu sentenced Dubeshter to one year in the House of Correction in Billerica, with 30 days to serve, followed by a probationary period of two years.
With his jail term now behind him, Dubeshter appeared in person at the Retirement Board’s closed-door hearing Tuesday at the Memorial Building, which stretched for more than half an hour.
After emerging from executive session, board attorney Thomas Gibson said the five-member group voted unanimously to deny Dubeshter his retirement allowance, and to deduct investigative costs from the annuity payments he is entitled to reclaim. The board is still reviewing which investigative costs will be deducted from his payout, Gibson said.
Dubeshter declined to comment on the circumstances following Tuesday’s hearing.
Dubeshter’s resignation marked an ignominious end to a lengthy career in Framingham, which brought him into one of the department’s most trusted positions. As evidence room supervisor, he was previously in charge of receiving, cataloging and maintaining evidence in criminal cases.
Dubeshter came under investigation on Sept. 18, 2015 after police discovered six envelopes from the evidence room inside his personal truck, according to court records.
The envelopes — typically used to store cash seized in criminal cases — had been cut open at the bottom, and all but $41 of the currency supposedly inside was missing. Police secured a warrant and returned the following day, allegedly finding two more envelopes inside the truck, and another envelope inside a desk at his home.

Audits later determined that more than $73,800 was missing from the evidence room, though prosecutors said they were unable to show Dubeshter was responsible for stealing more than about $19,000 of the missing cash.

Dubeshter was placed on leave Sept. 21, 2015 and resigned seven months later. He was indicted on two counts by a grand jury in January 2017 and pleaded guilty to a single larceny charge in November.
Police officials say the department has implemented numerous recommendations to improve control of the evidence room since Dubeshter’s arrest, including having at least two officers supervise the area. Police also began depositing cash seized during investigations into a bank account rather than storing it in the evidence room.

It was unclear Tuesday how much Dubeshter would have been entitled to receive from the retirement system. Laurie Lizak, executive director for the Framingham Retirement Board, said Dubeshter did not apply for pension payments after retiring while under investigation in April 25, 2016.
An employee’s retirement allowance is calculated based on years of service and the employee’s highest average salary over a period of three consecutive years. Those figures are multiplied by a benefit rate, which takes into account the employee’s age at retirement and the type of work they performed.
Police officers, firefighters and certain other employees belong to Group 4, which allows them to receive annual retirement payments equivalent to 80 percent of their highest average salary over three years.
In 2015 — one of Dubeshter’s longest stretches on active duty before being suspended — he earned a little more than $137,000. His salary included more than $29,000 worth of detail pay, which would not have counted toward the overall compensation used to calculate his retirement benefits.
Another longtime police officer who retired in 2016 received annual retirement allowances of about $40,000 and $45,000 during the previous two years, according to figures obtained by the Daily News through a public records request.
Lizak declined to disclose the amount of payroll deductions Dubeshter stands to be repaid, saying the figure is not subject to public disclosure. Lizak said only that the board is “doing its due diligence” with regard to Dubeshter’s retirement funds.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Beacon Hill Reps file cannabis sanctuary bill

As most readers have heard, AG Sessions has repealed all of what former President Obama has done to protect States who have medical and legalized cannabis. Our own State's AG has indicated that the Fed's will not give safe haven to anyone who grows, sells or manufactures cannabis products. This has sent a shock wave through the up start industry. 28 states now have some form of medical  cannabis and 9 States have legalized cannabis in some form.
Rep's Dave Rogers and Mike Connolly have introduced a bill that clearly respects the will of the voters here in Mass, prohibiting local and Sate police from participating in federal cases against licensed operators who follow state cannabis laws. If the Feds are going to prosacute licenend cannbis operations, no state tax dollars will be used to do so.
I have asked my Counsel rep to require our Police Department to not go after licensed operators. similar to what Boston and Worcester police departments have done already.
Lets see if our own reps here in Framingham will sign on.

decisions on the licensing board

In what only can be described as the first challenge for the Mayor and City council, is the appointments of the licensing board. 4 out of  5 candidates were approved, but the fifth, Adam Barosky was not. He is a lawyer who has a practice specializing in alcohol licensing and regulatory compliance. Ms. Grove was the first to question Mr. Barnosky's appointment. And made the point that none of the applicants are from the south side.  Along with CT Stoll who made the point of the lack of transparency in the process.
The nomination sub committee did not see any conflict with Mr. Barnosky's occupation, which to me seems to ignore the obvious.
The Mayor seemed perturbed when asked about the conflict of interest. Saying the candidates were vetted by a group, including a police officer and our own Town Counsel. Was that officer one of the men who raided and killed Mr. Stamps? Is he one of the officers that knew about the spare key to the evidence room? With all due respect to Town Counsel, lawyers are tied with Congress as the least trusted people in the country.
My take is that the Mayor should be aware of the optics of the appointments and should see that anyone who is involved with regulating any industry, should not be in that industry.
Should be a good test of the relationship between the Mayor and the Council, after all, the Council is the checks and balance in our new city government, replacing Town Meeting. And it looks like it's working.