Chicopee Mayor accuses Bissonnette of destroying city documents - KCTV5

Chicopee Mayor accuses Bissonnette of destroying city documents

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CHICOPEE, MA (WSHM) -

Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos is alleging that his predecessor Michael Bissonnette removed important city records and deleted files from the mayor's office before leaving office. 

Kos made the announcement at a press conference at City Hall Thursday afternoon. 

Bissonnette responded Thursday night saying he did it to be courteous. 

"We cleaned up all the computers in the office, we cleaned the office, we even detailed the city car to give to him," Bissonnette said. 

Bissonnette says he and his team did a clean-up to help out the Kos. 

But that's not how Kos sees it. 

He says when he took office last Monday he expected to see important documents on the computer in his office.

"There were no operating and current operational ongoing operational files in this office."

That's why he's now calling on the state attorney general to investigate the matter, saying 28,000 important city documents have been swept away.

"I've got nothing to hide, there's no smoking gun there," Bissonnette said. 

Among the documents Kos mentioned at a press conference Thursday is the investigation into the police department's handling of Chicopee murder victim Amanda Plasse.

Bissonnette says that can be easily found.

"Both the police chief and the law department have a copy of that report," Bissonnette said. 

He says all documents are backed up on a server and he was following protocol. 

City solicitor Marshall Moriarty said he broke the law.

"The law also requires the predecessor in office to be able to give that information and documents and records to his or her successor," he said. 

Bissonnette says he doesn't regret his actions and if Kos wants to reach out, he's open to a conversation.

"I suppose we could've left everything there and just let him clean it all up but I didn't think that was the proper thing to do, I wanted to show respect to the office."

Below is a letter Bissonnette sent to city department heads on Jan. 10.

Please be advised that no requests for any materials pertaining to ongoing projects, municipal finances or other city matters were received from anyone on behalf of the Kos administration prior to November 7th.

As I indicated to the mayor-elect shortly after the election, I and my staff were prepared to cooperate fully in a smooth transition. An exchange of text messages further confirmed this willingness.

However no contact was made and no requests for documents or other materials was ever received. In fact no one was contacted by the transition team or anyone else on behalf of the mayor-elect. Further it was apparent that all contact concerning the transition was being made thru the departments as evidenced by Clerk Rattell's email to department heads announcing the transition process.

Therefore all documents would be found with the respective departments involved in the matter for which information is sought. I would have been happy to provide any and all information upon request prior to the inauguration. Regrettably no such request was made to my office nor was any contact concerning same initiated. As a result, most paper materials were recycled they the single stream collection system in City Hall as electronic copies exist elsewhere.

It was not until the Tuesday of New Years Eve that I heard from the mayor-elect requesting a meeting on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately you and your colleagues were apparently delayed and were unable to meet at 2pm as planned. When you arrived at 2:45pm, a decision had been made to close City Hall due to weather conditions. At that time, no document requests were made and to my understanding none were made at any other time.

My offer of cooperation continues in effect. However the official city files are not kept by the office of the Mayor and I believe whatever type of information is sought can easily be obtained from the project managers or involved departments. Please feel free to let me know if there are any difficulties in obtaining whatever materials are sought. I will be happy to provide whatever assistance I can to insure that Mayor Kos has the information he needs to fully understand the issues facing the city.

Best of luck in your new responsibilities.

Michael D. Bissonnette

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