News, Police/Fire

Former Revere police chief can’t lock up old position

REVERE — Joseph Cafarelli, the former chief of police, will not return to the Revere Police Department as a lieutenant, the state has ruled.

Cafarelli did not have a leave of absence from his position as lieutenant when he was promoted to police chief, which means he is not entitled to reinstatement as police lieutenant, as requested, according to a determination signed by John Marra, general counsel for the Massachusetts Human Resources Division.

Attorney Mary Lemieux Sandorse, who represents Cafarelli, could not be reached for comment before deadline.

In 2012, neither the city nor Cafarelli notified the Human Resources Division of the promotion, according to the documents obtained by The Item.

On July 10, 2017, Mayor Brian Arrigo notified Cafarelli, who had been serving as chief for five years, that his contract would not be renewed and that his employment had “ended as of June 30, 2017,” according to the decision from the State’s Human Resources Division.

At the time, Arrigo cited a difference in philosophy as the reason for not reappointing Cafarelli. In June 2017, Arrigo said his goal was to make sure leadership in the department was building trust in the community.

Cafarelli responded to the letter with his own, through an attorney, to let Arrigo know of his intention to return to the department as a lieutenant two days later. Five days later, he filed an appeal with the Civil Service Commission, claiming the city failed to reinstate him to his permanent position after a leave of absence.

The commission dismissed the appeal, citing lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, and about a month later, in April 2018, the appeal was filed with the Human Resources Division.

The filing requested the division approve his past leave of absence “as a means to support reinstatement to the civil service position of the Police Lieutenant.”

But to succeed in this claim, Cafarelli would have needed prior approval for the leave from his former position of lieutenant.

“There is no evidence that (Cafarelli) sought and received prior approval from (the division) granting a leave of absence during his employment as Chief of Police,” according to the determination. “Accordingly, without a valid leave of absence, (Cafarelli) is not entitled to reinstatement to his former position of Police Lieutenant pursuant to civil service law.”

In a statement, Arrigo said the decision confirms the city followed procedures that are clearly set out in the law.

“I have always respected Joe Cafarelli’s service to the city and neither my decision to make a change at the top of the police department, nor this decision, changes that,” said Arrigo. “The (division’s) decision merely confirms that we went about the process properly.”

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