Manchester police officer plans to ask for censure of Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur tonightStaff Report
February 17. 2014 10:34PM
MANCHESTER — The city police officer accused by Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur of “poking” and attempting to intimidate him plans to speak out about those allegations at tonight’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Police officer Steve Maloney said he will address the board during its regularly scheduled public comment period.
“I’m going to ask that the city censure him and have him step down or at a minimum disqualify him from votes affecting the police department,” said Maloney, president of the union that represents the city’s rank-and-file police officers.
Last week, Attorney General Joseph Foster announced that after a six-month inquiry, he could not substantiate Levasseur’s claim that Maloney tried to intimidate him and poked him.
Maloney said he was happy with Foster’s finding, but disappointed the attorney general is not pursuing a charge against Levasseur of filing a false police report.
“I think they should have charged him,” Maloney said. “He’s telling the press that he’s been vindicated. I don’t know how a person who makes an allegation can be vindicated; he’s the one who made the allegation.”
Maloney said he is considering legal action against Levasseur.
“He called me a punk, he called me a bunch of weasels ... he’s an alderman at large. This isn’t just some citizen,” Maloney said. “The city could have taken action earlier; half the witnesses were aldermen.”
Several aldermen, as well as Police Chief David Mara and Fire Chief James Burkush, were in the area when Maloney and Levasseur were involved in an argument outside City Hall on Jan. 15, 2013.
The AG’s report is also on the regular agenda for tonight’s aldermanic meeting.
Mara asked that Foster’s report be transmitted to aldermen. In a letter to City Clerk Matthew Normand accompanying a copy of the report, Mara wrote: “I am requesting that the attached report be placed on the agenda for discussion.”
City department heads are traditionally present at board meetings. Department heads who submit particular items for consideration by the board are generally invited to comment on matters they submit.
Members of the board have been reluctant to comment on Foster’s report.
Levasseur had also charged there has been a pattern of city police attempting to intimidate him, in particular regarding a case involving a law client who has accused a city police officer of domestic violence. That case is still pending in Hooksett District Court.
Levasseur, an attorney, has claimed Foster’s report exonerates him and has not backed down from his claims of intimidation by police.
Aldermen tonight will also consider a plan to increase fees for parking meters and permits in and around the downtown area. The plan advanced by Denise Boutilier, the city’s parking manager, would raise meter rates for the affected area from 50 to 75 cents per hour. The hours in which meter fees must be paid would be increased from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Currently, meter fees are in effect from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Aldermen will also consider increases in fees for parking permits. Millyard area permits would increase from $45 to $70; lots that currently charge $50 would increase to $70. The Victory Parking Garage would be the priciest parking real estate in town, with a monthly fee of $90. Parking at the city’s secondary schools — currently $30 for a student or teacher — would be increased to $50 per month.
At current levels, the increases in permits would raise an additional $1.1 million. But city officials anticipate that 15 percent of people would cancel their parking permits rather than foot the higher bill, bringing the total revenue boost to $629,720. The meter fee increases would increase collections by $54,000, according to city estimates.