City solicitor retires amid allegations of incompetence

The city has taken action following an investigation by the AG's office.

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MANCHESTER, NH – On June 30 Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and Chairman of the Board of Aldermen, Pat Long, issued a joint statement regarding the City of Manchester’s Office of the City Solicitor. The announcement came one day after the city was informed that an investigation by the Attorney General’s office was launched into the  competency of personnel within the city solicitor’s office as it pertains to the prosecution of domestic violence cases.

“This afternoon Tom Clark submitted his retirement to the Office of the Mayor effective Monday, July 31st and has asked to be removed from his administrative duties as the City Solicitor.

“In the absence of a City Solicitor we will be working in coordination with the Office of the NH Attorney General and the Hillsborough County Attorney to bring forward a plan, to the board, for oversight of the Office of the City Solicitor, on or before the next meeting of the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, July 18th.  In the interim the Mayor will supervise the day-to-day activities of the Office of the City Solicitor.

“We thank Tom for his years of service to the City of Manchester.”

The investigation was initiated after complaints were lodged by the police department, in particular, over concerns about the outcomes of several cases handled by the city solicitor’s office.

On Friday, Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard issued a statement about the investigation, as follows:

The Manchester Police Department has devoted a tremendous amount of resources into the investigation and prevention of domestic violence crimes. Our Domestic and Sexual Violence Unit has specially trained investigators and victim/child advocates dedicated to curbing the cycle of domestic and sexual violence and patterns of abusive behavior. The inability of the City Solicitor’s Office to successfully prosecute these offenders to the fullest extent of the law is troubling. Their repeated failure to address our expressed concerns made it necessary for me to ask the Attorney General’s office for a review of their prosecutorial practices.

The findings of the review have not only corroborated our concerns but identified a number of strategies necessary to make critical improvements. I look forward to the recommendations being implemented. Ultimately, our responsibly is the protection of victims. I am deeply sorry to any victim who did not get the services or protection they deserved, or even worse, felt revictimized by their treatment. I am proud of the advocates, officers and detectives who illuminated the issues and cries for action.

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