Alderman accused of politically-motivated investigation into Auburn dumping
Manchester Alderman Bill Barry, who won a hard-fought race for the Ward 10 seat, works as a part-time police officer in Auburn.
Alderman Bill Barry, who won a hard-fought race for the Ward 10 seat, works as a part-time police officer in Auburn. The town has been rocked by allegations that Road Agent Michael Dross illegally buried several tons of waste at the town's former dump. (See related story.) Barry has led the investigation into the alleged illegal dumping. His involvement in the case, which began in the spring of 2013, was not raised during the campaign.
The investigation, conducted by Concord attorney Craig Staples, concluded that the confidential informant who originally made the allegations against Dross was likely involved in burying the waste or had "contemporaneous knowledge" of it.
The 14-page report proposed that a key factor in the handling of the case by Auburn police was tension between the department and Dross. A rift had opened between them, the report notes, after Dross in 2011 opposed increasing the rate officers were paid for road details.
The report notes that Barry told the New Hampshire Union Leader in October 2013 that Dross "either is responsible for or had knowledge of the dumping."
The allegations of illegal dumping first surfaced last spring, prompting the town to hire a contractor to unearth the site, revealing several tons of material, including tires, old appliances and a trash bag. While off-limits for dumping, the road agent uses the site for a garage and to store road salt; a portion of the property is also used by police as a shooting range.
Staples' report notes that an "on and off" city employee, Kevin Heald, had told Barry, a day after he resigned from his job, that he witnessed Dross using an excavator to dump "televisions, computers, tires and other debris," which had been at the site for some time.
Following the release of the report at the selectmen's meeting last week, he said the affair has "been hell," and that he was weighing legal action against his accusers.
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