MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Tuesday, Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen begrudgingly voted to transfer $200,000 from the city’s contingency funds into the Manchester Police Department budget to cover back pay for fired police officer Aaron Brown.
Brown was fired in April 2018 after an internal investigation uncovered racist texts, with his certification suspended in October. Last week, an arbitrator issued a binding judgment ordering the back payment, but Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg stated that Brown would never work for the Manchester Police Department again regardless of the judgement.
Michael Porter (Ward 8) referred to the arbitrator’s ruling as unconscionable and that this issue was something “worth dying on the hill for.”
Anthony Sapienza (Ward 5) agreed that it was unconscionable, but felt that there is no specific plan to challenge the ruling, and without one, challenging the ruling would “just keep the bill running.”
Joseph Kelly Levasseur (At-Large) challenged Sapienza’s assertion that there is no way to challenge the ruling, indicating that the city could appeal the ruling to the New Hampshire Supreme Court if needed.
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig stated that voting against the measure would effectively “defund” the police, at which point Levasseur shouted that Craig was no longer fit to be mayor and should resign.
The transfer was approved on a 10-3 vote. Kevin Cavanaugh (Ward 1), Will Stewart (Ward 2), Pat Long (Ward 3), Jim Roy (Ward 4), Dan O’Neil (At-Large), Ross Terrio (Ward 7), Barbara Shaw (Ward 9), Bill Barry (Ward 10) and Normand Gamache (Ward 11), joined Sapienza in supporting the measure.
Levasseur and Porter were joined by Keith Hirschmann (Ward 12).