Officer’s fate rests with legal counsel

By Jeanne Starmack


City leaders have decided how they would like to proceed in the case of an officer whose garage was the site of a teenage drinking party.

Patrolman Larry Neely has been on paid administrative leave since police broke up the Feb. 8 party in his garage.

Mayor Jim Melfi said Tuesday afternoon he met with police Chief Jeff Palmer and Jerry Lambert, public services director. He would not say what the decision is, adding that it is now in the hands of the city’s legal counsel, Clemans Nelson & Associates. Clemans Nelson specializes in labor issues.

Robin Bell, a labor-management consultant for Clemans Nelson, said she does not know when her review of the decision will end.

“I’m awaiting feedback from Mr. Neely and his union representative,” she said.

Neely was at work when the party took place, but Palmer said the department got tips about parties in the garage since early January. He also said there is information indicating the parties took place for months, on weekends and days off from school.

Neely also has an extensive disciplinary record that includes not responding to two calls from a dispatcher one night, for which he received a 10-day suspension, Palmer said.

Four juveniles and five people 18 and older face criminal charges over the Feb. 8 party.

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