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New Britain Police Captain Agrees To Negotiated Retirement


The Hartford Courant

6:37 AM EST, January 3, 2012


More than three months after his career hit the rocks, Capt. Anthony Paventi walked out of police headquarters Thursday afternoon as a civilian.

He left with a $51,000-a-year pension.

Paventi, 41, and the police union negotiated a deal with city lawyers that let him retire with a pension worth 54 percent of his salary.

Mayor Tim O'Brien said Thursday evening that the resolution "prevents potentially long and costly litigation and is in the best interests of taxpayers."

The agreement heads off a long-delayed disciplinary hearing into misconduct charges against Paventi. As part of the deal, the city agreed to keep secret the findings of an extensive investigative report into his actions.

In turn, Paventi agreed not to file any workers compensation claims against the city, and promised to cooperate in the city's defense against lawsuits by several female patrol officers who claim they were victims of sex discrimination. One officer claims Paventi harassed her with unwelcome "personal" text messages, and alleges that Chief William Gagliardi refused to investigate and instead retaliated against her for complaining.

In a deposition in one of those cases, a city woman said Paventi repeatedly had consensual sex with her while on duty years ago. The city assigned Acting Capt. James Wardwell to look into that claim, and in the middle of that investigation Gagliardi put Paventi on paid leave.

Since then, Paventi has drawn about $25,000 in pay while awaiting a disciplinary hearing. On Thursday, he and his lawyer met with Gagliardi, city attorneys, and a union representative for more than two hours. They signed a retirement deal in which $25,000 will be deducted from his payout for unused sick time, according to Corporation Counsel John King.

Gagliardi issued a terse statement Thursday announcing the retirement effective that day.

"The retirement letter was submitted prior to the scheduled fact-finding meeting today, and as a result of his retirement the hearing was canceled," Gagliardi wrote.

Gagliardi had been closely allied with Paventi for years. Paventi was in charge of internal investigations and training.

In mid-2010, the chief gave him an outstanding performance evaluation, awarding the highest possible marks in every category, including "compliance with rules and regulations."

Gagliardi wrote: "Capt. Paventi is a true professional in performing his duties… at all times he conducts himself and holds accountable all members of his staff to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct. His performance is exemplary."

The federal sex discrimination lawsuits and Paventi's departure Thursday are part of a series of troubles that hit the police administration this year.

A patrol officer publicly complained that the department is plagued with favoritism and dismal morale, and in April, a veteran captain committed suicide after troopers charged him with an alcohol-related hit-and-run crash following an off-duty drinking party with other police.

As of Thursday, Gagliardi was left only with Capt. Dennis Beatty, a codefendant in the suits, and Wardwell, who'd conducted the investigation into Paventi's alleged misconduct. The city has agreed not to let the public see that report unless ordered to do so under state freedom of information laws. The Courant filed an FOI complaint late Thursday seeking access.

Paventi's phone at police headquarters was still going to his voice mail message as of Monday, and there was no public announcement yet of how the department will refill the ranks of its command staff. It has operated for years without a deputy chief but with three captains; Paventi is gone, though, and Capt. Matthew Tuttle's job has been vacant since he committed suicide following an apparently drunken hit-and-crash in the spring.  Lt. James Wardwell, head of the detective division, has been serving in the rank of acting captain since Tuttle's death.

Gagliardi, the police union leadership and former police commission Chairman Michael Wanik have consistently dismissed accounts of widespread disharmony within the department, blaming the press and a small circle of disgruntled officers.

O'Brien said he wants the department to get past its troubles, saying "It is my priority to swiftly resolve legal issues in our police department."





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