(SHNS) – A spokesman for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, which oversees the police agency, said in a brief statement Thursday afternoon that Colonel James McGinn “is currently suspended without pay pending the completion of an internal review of operational issues at the Massachusetts Environmental Police.”
The spokesman, Peter Lorenz, offered no further information about the situation. Lt. Col. Anthony Abdal-Khabir is in control of the Massachusetts Environmental Police, effective Thursday.
In November 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker said the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs was investigating a pattern WCVB-TV uncovered of environmental police officers spending portions of the work day at home and receiving overtime for patrolling parks and pools.
“I’ve talked to the folks at Environmental Affairs that they need to look through some of the issues that were raised by the report and if there are issues associated with people behaving inappropriately and treating the taxpayers with less than the respect that they deserve, then we’ll take action on that,” Baker said at the time.
During a Herald Radio appearance in September 2016, Baker said “no” when asked if he thought it looked like patronage to have McGinn, his former campaign driver, lead the state’s environmental police.
“The answer’s no,” Baker said. “I’ve known Jim a long time and he has 20 years as a state police officer. He left the force as a sergeant, he worked for FEMA as a disaster recovery specialist.”
More recently, on Aug. 28, Baker said the environmental police were dealing with issues around “split shifts,” which he said are appropriate in many cases.
Baker said the environmental police have “done a lot of things over the course of the last couple of years to clean up their act on that stuff,” but that there was “always more to be done” and he was looking forward to the use of GPS devices.
“Colonel McGinn is currently suspended without pay pending the completion of an internal review of operational issues at the Massachusetts Environmental Police.” – Peter Lorenz, EEA