If President Donald Trump were to visit Everett, at least according to City administration officials, he would call the story repeatedly reported in a local newsletter about a $300,000 settlement for a Wellness Center employee fake news.
The local newsletter in Everett has been reporting for many months that an employee of the Wellness Center was harassed this year, and that a $300,000 settlement had been negotiated personally in the case by Mayor Carlo DeMaria – a settlement that the newsletter has said is secret and part of a cover up.
In more than a few ways, that was deemed a lie at the Dec. 26 meeting.
“You’re saying this $300,000 settlement doesn’t exist,” said Councilor Michael Marchese during the meeting on Dec. 26.
“It does not exist,” said City Attorney Keith Slattery. “The story is not true in any way shape or form…There is no truth to it whatsoever. There are no negotiations. There are no settlement amounts. The mayor is not ready to take any action on anything. In fact, there are no claims with the City, the MCAD or the Superior Court.”
Added Mayoral Chief of Staff Kevin O’Donnell, “The $300,000 figure is a complete falsehood. No discussions of that figure – or any other figure – have been discussed.”
Slattery told the Council that there was a claim made of harassment at the Wellness Center by an employee this year. It was investigated, interviews were done with all parties, mediation was done and action was taken to mediate the matter.
At this point, he said, it has been a closed case for some time.
“Actions were taken to mediate,” he said. “Actions can be moving people from certain departments, changing schedules, or enacting discipline. But actions were taken and the matter was closed.”
He said the details could not be discussed as personnel matters are protected and cannot be disclosed publicly. However, he said there has been no legal claim made in the case and no settlement for the case negotiated.
“I’m puzzled,” said Councilor Wayne Matewsky. “I don’t know how anyone has information and it’s printed in the paper and then it’s not true.”
Councilor Rosa DiFlorio had even stronger words for the local newsletter’s reporting.
“This $300,000 settlement the (newsletter) is reporting about – I don’t understand how we can allow a paper in the City of Everett to constantly, constantly go after City Hall and get away with it,” she said. “How can they sit there and print lies and just get away with it? I say enough is enough. We’ve had it with this paper. I don’t like negativity. I don’t like this in our City and I’m not going to advertise ever with them again. I hope they get it now and that’s it.”
Marchese said he was satisfied with the explanation and was only going on what he read.
“I’m satisfied with what I’ve heard,” he said. “I go by what I read. If it’s one time, I don’t believe it. If it’s a couple of times, I might believe it.”