New London city leaders reach settlement with Police Chief

January 10, 2012 by  

Police Chief Margaret Ackley will receive $25,000 under an agreement reached with the city that settles a dispute involving former City Councilor Michael Buscetto III. Chief Ackley accused Buscetto of attempting to systematically undermine her leadership.

One of Ackely’s allegations stated that members of her department intentionally left Buscetto’s name out of an April 2009 investigation of an incident at a casino nightclub. Ackley said the out-of-control episode reportedly involved inappropriate and lewed behavior by off-duty police officers during a birthday celebration at Shrine nightclub at Foxwoods.

Buscetto allegedly groped a female officer and two other women. Buscetto said the city attorney questioned him about what went on at the Shrine nightclub and that no complaints were filed. Buscetto insists the allegations are part on an ongoing smear campaign against him.

Ackley said she felt she had no choice but to retire. A resignation would likely have prompted the city to contact stationery printers for updated business cards for a new Police Chief. Rather than calling it quits, Ackley sent a letter to then-City Attorney Thomas Londregan, accusing Buscetto of gender discrimination. Ackley claimed Buscetto made threatening and defamatory remarks to her and crossed the line by using his influence to interfere with her department.

New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said the settlement fell within the recommendations made in an independent report conducted by former Superior Court Judge Beverly Hodgson. Finizo is remaining tight-lipped about the details of the judge’s report. The Mayor says he will meet privately with the city council to decide whether to release the judge’s report to the public.

Ackley was sworn in as the city’s first female police chief in 2009. Buscetto was a member of the city council at the time.