• This page, Former Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco pays $9,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law, is offered by
  • State Ethics Commission
Press Release

Press Release Former Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco pays $9,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law

Sacco failed to appropriately discipline officers for falsely claiming detail pay
For immediate release:
6/02/2022
  • David A. Wilson, Executive Director

Media Contact for Former Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco pays $9,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law

Gerry Tuoti, Public Information Officer

Boston, MAFormer Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco has paid a $9,000 civil penalty for violating the conflict of interest law by failing to appropriately discipline Medford police officers who made false claims for detail pay, not requiring the them to return more than $17,000 in falsely claimed detail pay, and concealing the matter from the mayor. Sacco signed a Disposition Agreement in which he admitted the violations and waived his right to a hearing.

In spring 2018, Sacco learned that some Medford police officers had submitted requests to be paid for detail hours they had not worked and personally investigated. Eleven patrol officers Sacco interviewed admitted they had accepted detail pay for hours they had not worked. Sacco did not record his interviews, did not interview any superior officers alleged to be involved, and did not prepare a written report of his investigation or findings.

Instead of imposing meaningful discipline, on November 28, 2018, two days before he retired, Sacco gave the 30 patrol officers he interviewed a verbal reprimand that was not recorded in the officers’ personnel files. Sacco did not reprimand the superior officers involved and did not require the culpable officers to pay back the unearned detail pay. Sacco did not inform the mayor of the allegations, his investigation, or the officers’ admissions.

In 2019, the newly hired Medford police chief learned of the false claims for detail pay and launched an independent investigation. Twenty-five patrol officers and five superior officers were found to have submitted requests for detail pay, totaling $17,000, for hours or shifts not worked. Based on these findings, each culpable officer was disciplined, ranging from letters of reprimand to suspension. All culpable officers were removed from the police detail list and required to return the falsely claimed detail pay. Seventeen officers received suspensions.

The conflict of interest law prohibits public employees from using their official positions to provide anyone with a valuable privilege or exemption to which they are not entitled. Sacco violated this prohibition by failing to appropriately discipline the officers who falsely claimed detail pay, by failing to require them to pay back the unearned pay, and by failing to report the matter to the mayor.

The law also prohibits a public employee from acting in a manner that would cause a reasonable person aware of the relevant facts to believe the employee would be improperly influenced or show undue favoritism in their official acts. Sacco’s mishandling of the investigation and discipline of the officers who falsely claimed detail pay would have caused a reasonable person to believe that those officers could unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his duties as police chief. Had Sacco followed established Medford Police protocol, the culpable officers would have been officially and substantially disciplined, as they were after his retirement.

The Commission encourages public employees to contact the Commission’s Legal Division at 617-371-9500 for free advice if they have any questions regarding how the conflict of interest law may apply to them.

###

Media Contact for Former Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco pays $9,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law

State Ethics Commission 

The State Ethics Commission is an independent state agency that administers and enforces the provisions of the conflict of interest law and financial disclosure law.
Feedback