SALEM — Police Chief Paul Donovan tendered his resignation on Thursday after an independent audit found a myriad of problems with staff culture, his department’s handling of internal affairs investigations and how it addressed complaints from the public.
In a statement released by Donovan’s lawyer Charlie Bauer, Donovan said he will continue to serve the town as chief until the end of the month and will be supportive of the department thereafter.
Donovan has been absent from the police station since November, even before a redacted version of a 177-page audit report by Kroll Inc. was released on Nov. 23. Among its findings, investigators found that officers, including Donovan, were working outside details during regular work shifts.
Donovan previously said in a statement that he had permission from past and current town managers to work the details.
“The town and I have agreed to resolve our differences and move forward,” Donovan said in a recent statement.
Donovan started as chief in 2001. Over the next 17 years, he said he was honored to work with the department to bring it to the “highest levels of professionalism and provided outstanding service to our community.”
Town employees interviewed for the Kroll audit said the culture at the department created an environment that resented and defied town authority. Some Salem officers, whose names were redacted, were said to have had an adversarial relationship with the human resources department and Town Manager Chris Dillon in particular.
Donovan recently resolved two lawsuits he filed against the town. One was to overturn a two-day unpaid suspension of Donovan the town manager issued in August as a disciplinary action for insubordination.
The town contracted with Municipal Resources Inc. for the services of former Andover, Mass. Police Chief Brian Pattullo as a civilian administrator. He will work to implement the recommendations in the Kroll report. Pattullo started Monday and is working out of Donovan’s office.
The town is paying him $87 an hour; his insurance benefits are covered by MRI.
“I would like to thank my family, who has stoically endured the trials and tribulations that are inherent to the role of a police chief; their incredible support represents how important family is,” Donovan said in his statement.
On Thursday, the town manager acknowledged Donovan’s decades of government employment.
“I would like to thank the chief for his 17 years of service to the town of Salem and over 25 more to the profession,” Dillon said. “The support and dedication he demonstrates for his staff is second to none.”