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September 18. 2013 9:40PM

Nashua deputy chief, already on leave, set to retire

NASHUA — Deputy Police Chief Scott Howe, who has been on paid administrative leave for nearly three months, will retire on Oct. 1, according to police officials.

Police Commissioner Thomas Pappas told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Wednesday that Howe recently submitted his retirement paperwork, adding the Nashua Police Commission received and accepted the request on Tuesday.

"The commission was unanimous in expressing their gratitude to the many years of service he provided," Pappas said of Howe.

Howe was placed on paid administrative leave June 22 in the midst of an audit of the Nashua Police Relief Association being conducted by the Charitable Trusts Unit of the Attorney General's Office.

Police Chief John Seusing asked the state agency to audit the Nashua Police Relief Association after learning the nonprofit organization paid Howe to clean a building it owns on Kinsley Street using a Visa debit card.Pappas refused to comment on whether Howe's retirement was a result of the inquiry by the Attorney General's Office.

"A retirement is considered a personnel matter," Pappas said, adding Howe's retirement will be effective Oct. 1.

Pappas said he has enjoyed working with Howe, noting the commission works closely with the police chief and the department's two deputy chiefs. Howe has been a deputy chief with the Nashua Police Department for more than two years, according to Pappas.

The department is expected to hire someone from within to fill Howe's vacancy.

"All of the captains are eligible to apply," Pappas said. Once all of the applications are received, the commission will review the resumes and interview candidates before making a final decision, likely within 30 to 45 days, said Pappas.

Seusing described Howe as a very dedicated member of the local police force.

"He will be missed," Seusing said on Wednesday.

This week, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said two branches of her office have been investigating the Nashua Police Relief Association — the Charitable Trusts Unit and the Criminal Bureau.

"The Criminal Bureau was monitoring the Charitable (Trusts) Unit's investigation, and both investigations were taking place parallel to each other," said Young. "After a thorough review of the case, we have concluded that no violations of the state's criminal code occurred."

However, she noted that the Charitable Trusts Unit is continuing with its own investigation, and that if any red flags are raised during that inquiry, the issue will be revisited. But for now, Young said the criminal investigation has concluded.

Last month, Seusing stressed the importance of having two deputy chiefs on the force.

With Howe out for the past three months, Deputy Andrew Lavoie has been the only active deputy chief with the department.

"Just because we have been functioning with one (deputy) gone, doesn't mean it is the most efficient way to operate," Seusing said at the time. "That is a very much needed position here."

Staff writer Paul Feely contributed to this report.


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