After an attorney acquired the fully un-redacted investigation report that outlines the events that initiated three hostile workplace complaints filed against Gloucester’s mayor, the city is asking the federal court to keep it under wraps.
The city’s outside attorney, John Davis of Pierce Davis & Perritano, filed a motion for protective order earlier this week, requesting “that (the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts) enter an order requiring plaintiff to maintain confidentiality regarding the information and materials obtained in pretrial discovery and further prohibiting the dissemination of such information and materials.”
The defendants named include city General Counsel Chip Payson, former Chief Administrative Officer Jim Destino, and Human Resources Director Holly Dougwillo.
None of the defendants returned the Times’ request for comment.
The city’s most recent actions to hide the report came after Harbormaster T.J. Ciarametaro’s lawyer Liam O’Connell served a subpoena on investigator Regina Ryan of Discrimination and Harassment Solutions LLC who completed the report.
“After requesting a copy of the unredacted reports from the city, to no avail, we finally served a subpoena on the investigator for the same, who complied,” O’Connell texted the Times, explaining how he acquired the full report. “We are now, four months later, in the process of reviewing the many documents (Regina) disclosed, and have no comment at this time.”
O’Connell did not return the Times’ request to see the report.
The investigation report outlines the events that lead to three complaints against Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken.
Ciarametaro and Community Development Director Jill Cahill each accuse Romeo Theken of making abusive, harassing and inappropriate comments regarding the race, religion and sexual orientation of city officials and employees, as well as members of the public.
Ciarametaro also has filed suit against Romeo Theken and current and former members of her administration alleging similar charges. The lawsuit, first filed in Essex County Superior Court, has been moved to U.S. District Court in Boston at the request of the defendants.
Former Human Resources Director Donna Leete, who retired last year, authored a letter to the editor that was published by the Times in April. In it, she described the hostile work environment she experienced. She subsequently filed a formal complaint with the city against the mayor.
Both Leete and Cahill confirmed on Tuesday that they have not received an un-redacted investigation report.
The report documents were released to the Gloucester Daily Times after Rebecca Murray, supervisor of records for the office of the Massachusetts Secretary of State, upheld the appeal filed by the Times. She gave the city 10 business days to issue a formal response to the original request which the city had denied earlier this year.
“Upon review of the balancing test, it is unclear how a privacy interest of a government official conducting public business outweighs the public interest in this situation,” Murray wrote.
Once the Times received the documents, however, it was evident that they were heavily redacted.
With only part of the narrative made public, the Times filed another appeal with the state for the fully unredacted report — as the state had mandated the city to do in the first place.
On Sept. 1, Payson, the city’s general counsel, sent the Times Editor-in-Chief David Olson another redacted report.
“Certain limited redactions have been made in the exhibits in order to protect ‘personnel ... or information and any other materials or data relating to a specifically named individual, the disclosure of which may constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy ...” Payson wrote.
The Times has since filed a public records request with the city for the fully un-redacted report that O’Connell received from the investigator.
Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford may be contacted at 978-675-2705, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at TayBradford97.