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Mayor: Bunnell to Answer Charges During 'Day in Court'

Police Lt. Leonard Bunnell "has his say" and then mayor decides punishment, police union may file a grievance, mayor says.

 

Today, Montville Police Lt. Leonard Bunnell will have “his day in court, so to speak,” Mayor Ronald McDaniel said.

“Lenny will have the chance to (answer) the charges leveled against him. It’s a process. He’ll have his say and I’ll make a decision.” And following that, McDaniel said he’d notify both Bunnell and the police union. “They’ll have the option to grieve it, if they choose. Like I said, it’s a process. It takes as long as it takes.”

The Charges

Bunnell is facing disciplinary action for the charges connected with the state police major crimes probe into the between October of 2011 and January of 2012. 

Troop E commanding officer Lt. Samuel R. Izzarelli lodged the complaint against Bunnell after getting a report by a system auditor. The Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing (COLLECT) System lets users find information that the state has about people, and find motor vehicle and criminal history data on the national and international level.

The  It’s alleged Bunnell conducted background checks on behalf of a “town hall employee.” That employee has not been named.

Other allegations 'generally happened'

But he has also been the subject of an October 2011 discrimination and harassment complaint by Montville Police Officer Karen Moorehead. 

hostility and sexual harassment, the latter pertaining to a Bunnell remark about Moorehead’s breasts. The investigation, by Montville Finance Director Terry Hart and attorney Hinda K. Kimmell, concluded that Bunnell’s behaviors toward Moorehead while “entirely inappropriate,” nonetheless “did not rise to the level to support a claim of sexual or workplace harassment.”

Moorehead’s Hartford-based attorney Andrew Houlding said he would have to defer comment until he sees the entire report, once Moorehead pays the town $250 to get it; $.25 per page, her attorney said, the report must run about 1,000 pages.

But given the investigation found his behavior was not illegal, this case would likely not be the subject of any disciplinary action.

Forced to retire?

Last week Bunnell said he was being forced to retire and identified Friday July 13 as the day he’d submit his retirement paperwork. But McDaniel said he “changed his mind and that’s why the town is proceeding with the disciplinary process,” McDaniel said.

REVMAN July 19, 2012 at 01:18 PM
He is entitled to due process,but he would have been smarter to retire.He still will have to answer to sexual harassment charges no matter what he did.
MM July 19, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I thought the sexual harassment "allegations" not "charges" was concluded because "it did not rise to the level to support a claim...."
Sarah Mae Wegins July 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I believe it was reported that it did not raise to the level of sexual harassment however was deemed inappropriate to the work place. Who knows what that will end up being.
REVMAN July 19, 2012 at 03:39 PM
There is a very fine line about sexual harassment in our state and if Ms. Moorehead filed a complaint with Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities this won't go away soon.
Jenny L. July 19, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Rumor Has it the mayor has promised to only Suspend him for a week or two. I hope for our sake that's not true. If it is the wpca employee will sure get a lot of our tax dollars for being wrongfully terminated.
J. Arrington July 19, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Jenny, if the rumor you heard is true, the Mayor is definitely exhibiting favoritism. It shows his lack of management skills with treating employees on an equal basis. All other employees better stay on McDaniel's good side, or they'll end up fired for no clear reason.
Sarah Mae Wegins July 19, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Jenny L, I would hope that the rumor you heard is not true. As J. Arrington indicates it would be a flagrant mismanaged action in lieu of earlier dismissal of the WPCA employee. I also should point out that this Mayor has done more harm to his office then all his predecessors, and he has done it in only seven months. Keep up the good work Mayor Ron!
Mike Z. July 19, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Sarah, very well spoken. The office of the mayor has become the number one conversation piece in town and not for the great job he's doing. It's embarrassing. The facts will come out and I can't wait to see how the mayor can explain firing a guy for not answering his personal cell phone but only puts Lenny on suspension when he was found guilty of 38 charges of misuse of the state data base additionally has sevral other charges levied against him. Clearly there is a major issue here. Can montville hold a recall?
Owen Willis July 20, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Start a petition to recall the mayor Mike. If Mayor Ronny McD won't leave at least he'll know people aren't happy. We deserve a break today from this guy!
Sam Rogers July 20, 2012 at 07:40 AM
Mike Z., inasmuch as you admit that "the facts" have not yet come out, your endless diatribe on this subject remains completely unsupported by any facts. Perhaps that's what should be embarrassing. As for the two situations you compare, what makes you suppose that, as a matter of law, one has any bearing whatsover on the other? It seems quite a stretch to suggest that a public employee can never be fired for doing - or not doing - something, so long as some other employee did something entirely different and was dealt with accordingly. Are you a labor attorney? If so, please identify the law that supports your position. Otherwise, why not simply join the rest of us in waiting for "the facts" to come out?
Sam Rogers July 20, 2012 at 07:44 AM
There was an election, and one of the two candidates lost. Get over it.
Kelly July 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Sam we are aware of the election but what we voted for and what we got were two different guys. Ron told us how educated he was how he would "got our back" etc. todate we have only seen incompetence and stupidity. I will not get over that!!
Kristin Stergio-Taylor July 20, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Why is this situation turning into a bashing on Ron? Isn't this about Bunnell? I have lived in this town all of my life and this is certainly not the first issue the town has had with him, he needs to go plain and simple.
Tricia W. July 20, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Reason for bashing Ron is that he doesn't know what he is doing and should resign.
MTV Citizen July 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Why isn't anyone concerned that the "top cop" is accused of violating the LAW! "Hypothetically" Bunnell committed multiple violations of state statue... http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/computer_crimes.htm Unauthorized Use of a Computer or Computer Network -- § 53-451 (b) Unauthorized Access to a Computer System -- § 53a-251 (b) and §§ 53a-252 through 53a-256 and Theft of Computer Services -- § 53a-251 (c) and §§ 53a-252 through 53a-256 (If Ms Jacobson is correct about the State charging $50.00 for each "check".) That type of behavior makes cops look bad! Not to mention the inappropriate comments about women, that belongs back in the 1940's (and it was WRONG then). And the other question no one is asking.. why hasn't he been arrested like anyone else that violates the law? Tooo many friends in court after 20+ years as a cop?
Pete J July 22, 2012 at 04:54 AM
I love Montville residents they are all so very smart. They are lawyers, Juries, Judges, Executioners. Most have had visions of highly sensitive documents, because everybody seems to know what they say. Montville residents can hear through walls because everybody knows what happened in those private meetings. Montville residents are educated in Human Resources, Law, Due Process and Human Rights. And last but not least. Most of Montville’s residents are all great politicians. Do you know how I know that? BECAUSE YOU’RE ALL FULL OF YOURSELF’S!!
Pete J July 22, 2012 at 05:08 AM
You are right about one thing he is "ACCUSED" LET THE FACTS AND THE PROCESS WORK BEFORE YOU PASS JUDGEMENT. Surely, if you were being accused of some innuendo, you would want your day in court not having your good name being smeared in the paper. I am sure that sometime in your life somebody accused you of or said something about you that were not true? think how you reacted.
montvillejive July 22, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Pete J what's wrong? Is the guy you backed as Mayor letting you down? How about counting out Ronny's screw-ups in the last 8 months. 1. Ethics complaint filed against him 2. Rumors about his visiting local bars 3. Trying to give the WPCA autonomy 4. Lame budget 5. Letting the Council cut a position at the Town Hall while he sat at a meeting knowing he was in negotiation with the employee who was cut. 6. Blocking a petition to overule the budget. (part 1) 7. Blocking a petition to overule the budget. (part 2) 8. Firing an employee for some unknown reason. 8. Blocking a petition to overule the budget. (part 3) 9. Being personally sued by the fired employee 10. Investigating a sexual harassment case for over 7 months. 11. Bunnell - need more be said? And the list goes on, cause I'm sure I've missed some. Not bad for a Mayor in only 8 months. Bunnell has problems because the Mayor seems incompetent. End of story.
Pete J July 22, 2012 at 07:55 PM
1. "Alleged Ethics" 2. Wow the mayor goes to bar. 3. You are correct. 4. 0% percent increase "Lame" nope not giving you that one. As a matter of fact councilor McFee applauded the Mayor's budget when presented. 5. You are half right. I believe the town planner said she could do without that position so the council cut that position. I believe the town planner misled the Mayor and council. 6. Not true 7. Not true 8. There is a reason and when the reports come out or it goes to court than and only then will the truth be told. Oh that's right; you know all you live in Montville 8.1 Not True 9. So a Mayor should never fire anybody because he "may be sued" that's good management style. 10. Again, this 'Alleged' sexual harassment was being handled by an outside investigator. If the Mayor did the investigation you can just here the conversation in those bar rooms now. 11. Lt. Bunnell has put his life on the line every day for 35 years as a Montville police officer. Like him or not he deserves the benefit of doubt until otherwise proven guilty. 12. And that's the rest of the story.
theinformant July 23, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Pete J 2. Wow the mayor goes to bar. Do you think it’s OK for the Mayor who represents our Town being seen almost every afternoon and evening patronizing the local drinking establishments? I have seen him and others have said they seen him. It’s not a joke. If he has a problem he needs to deal with it. 3 ½ years is a long time for him to continue down this road. Because you don’t think it’s a big issue, I get the impression you make the rounds with him, that’s why you won’t admit he has a problem. 9. So a Mayor should never fire anybody because he "may be sued" that's good management style. If a Mayor is going to fire someone, he best make sure he as justifiable reason and if sued he would be able to win his case. This Mayor screw this issue up so bad that he personally is going to cost this town lots of money, not just from the decision, but in Lawyers’ fees also. You either don’t understand the issues or you don’t want to understand the issues. In either case I believe you are the Mayor trying to defend yourself or you work for the Mayor and the town also.
J. Lincoln July 23, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Peter J, remember "Ronnie Mac's got your back" ! How about, "Ronnie's OK says Peter J"? (Item 5) remember, the Mayor sat at the Town Council and listened to the the council not fund a position that was in negotiation with unions. This started a landslide of screw ups by the Mayor, Finance Director, Town Council Chairperson Bubendorf, Town Council Vice Chair Billy Caron causing three (3) separate meetings and votes to approve a budget. You may recall that there was a petition to overturn the budget during this time. Their mistakes and lack of understanding our charter took away your' and mine constitutional right to petition our government.
J. Arrington July 23, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Mr. Rogers there seems to be a back case of buyer remorse concerning the election.
J. Arrington July 23, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Pete J said one accurate statement, Lt. Bunnell has put his life on the line every day.
J. Lincoln July 23, 2012 at 07:13 PM
And then his boss throws him under the bus by his silence.
a.l. July 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM
As much as I have tried, yet again, to not stoop, it is utterly impossible with some of the comments that are continuously being made regarding our Mayor. No, he has not shown "incompetence and stupidity" though those of you who keep making derogatory comments about him certainly have shown yours. For the person who claims that he "spends every afternoon in a bar", you just lost any possibly credibility your arguments might have had because quite frankly, that is an out right lie and you should be ashamed of yourself. If you can't suppress the urge to spread rumors and fabricate stories, maybe you should "seek help". If you can't stick to a reasonable comment to an issue you obviously don't agree with, again, seek help. For the person who claimed his budget was "lame", how is a zero budget "lame"? Regardless of your party affiliation (let me guess) you should be able to respect a responsible budget. But.... Blame the Mayor (not the wpca guy that actually did something wrong - and it was more than just not answering his personal cell phone and I believe you probably know that). Bottom line, the person who claimed that the Mayor is "the number one conversation piece", is correct. But only to the handful of you who seem to like to sling mud despite the issue (or in most of the cases, no issue). FYI, those of us that voted for him continue to support him, respect his abilities, and yes, his intelligence. So let the juvenile and petty backlash to begin....
theinformant July 24, 2012 at 01:10 PM
a.l. You should have continued not stooping. You again are only giving your opinion. I on the other hand have stated facts. I was there in the same bar watching him drink alcohol, during the day (working Hour 3:30 in the afternoon) and night (after meetings). I’m retired, I have lots of time on my hands and I happen to visit the same Bars he does. Even though I also have been in the Bars, I’m not the Mayor and I don’t represent the Town in any capacity. I believe when someone is elected to serve the people, who I may not have voted for, but because he was elected, I believe he is supposed to serve everyone not just a select few. In my opinion, that’s exactly what he is doing, serving a select few. You made this statement (not the wpca guy that actually did something wrong - and it was more than just not answering his personal cell phone and I believe you probably know that). Where did you get your info from? Both papers and Patch stated he was not actually involved. That again is only you trying to lie about someone you support and are blind to the facts that show his incompetence as Mayor.

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