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Heron Files Demotion Complaint Chiefs Contract not extended



Police Sergeant James Heron filed a complaint with the State Attorney General's Office on February 26, claiming that the Board of Selectmen violated the state's Open Meeting Law last October 24 and again on January 8 of this year. Heron claims the board did not hold closed-door "executive sessions" to discuss Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin's contract extension as stated, but instead discussed demoting him from the position of Deputy Chief.

The Town Crier has learned that selectmen did not extend O'Loughlin's contract for several more years as he requested– meaning it automatically gives him just one more year of tenure. The Milford Police Union – representing the Police Department's 43 officers and sergeants – issued a public statement last week expressing "full confidence" in O'Loughlin and his 16 years of leading the department.

Selectmen briefly referenced Heron's complaint at their March 12 meeting, deciding to have Chairman William Kingkade and Town Counsel Gerald Moody respond to it. The board met in executive session that night to consider releasing the minutes for the executive sessions held on October 24 and January 8, but emerged in public to say that the status of those minutes will remain as not being able to be made public.

Heron's written complaint states that he was not – as required by state law – given advance notice of a meeting at which his character or reputation or job performance was to be discussed, nor did the board keep accurate minutes of those meetings.

Heron's complaint seeks that selectmen respond by: "(1) Cease and desist any further political collusion and retaliation or any other type of retaliation against James C. Heron. (2) Reinstate or cause the reinstatement of Sergeant James C. Heron of the Milford Police Department to the position f Deputy Chief of Police of which he held prior to the illegal actions taken against him. (3) Pay damages for the pain and suffering, loss of stature in the community, loss of standing in the Police Department, loss of reputation in the community and the Police Department, and loss of pay as it pertains to the position of Deputy Chief, as well as the value of the loss of the company vehicle assigned to the Deputy Chief. (4) A public apology."




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