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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Media to blame for Brookline chief controversy, selectman’s chair says

BROOKLINE – Any controversy surrounding the town’s new police chief is the fault of the media, Selectman Chairman Tad Putney said at the start of a public meeting Monday night.

Putney said he felt the need to speak in defense of Police Chief William Quigley.

Quigley was invited to the board meeting Monday night to answer residents’ questions about who is running the department when the chief, a part-time employee, is off duty.

But before the discussion began, Putney fired away at the newspaper.

“I have some comments on the media attention regarding The Telegraph and the Hollis/Brookline Journal,” said Putney, a three-year member of the board.

“It would be irresponsible not to speak of this issue that’s adversely affected a town employee,” which was a story about the resignation of Celia Lingley.

Lingley, a longtime police department secretary resigned suddenly from the department in January, saying Quigley had questioned her abilities and loyalty.

The Telegraph obtained and reported on Lingley’s resignation letter.

“I can’t stand by and watch the reputation of a town employee get hurt by one reporter,” Putney said.

Putney made no mention of the town’s violation of the state retirement system rules in hiring Quigley to a full-time job in October. The town has since amended its policies.

And town residents still have questions, as evidenced by Monday’s meeting.

Once the meeting began, questions and comments focused on town officials, not the newspaper.

– HATTIE BERNSTEIN