Holds no water – Town Manager reinstates Famolare, saying there was ‘no substance’ to allegations

Saturday, February 28, 2009
By Cary Shuman

By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
For the Transcript

Interim Town Manager Larry Holmes said Tuesday night that Winthrop Harbormaster Charles Famolare would be reinstated immediately, following the outcome of his investigation of allegations against the veteran harbormaster.

“I have examined all of the allegations against Mr. Famolare and have found no substance to these allegations,” said Holmes Tuesday evening. “Mr. Famolare at no time used his position to gain anything that would be considered inappropriate. This is a town personnel matter, and at this time, Mr. Famolare will be fully reinstated to his position as harbormaster. He has my full faith and confidence that he will continue to manage our harbor and resources in a professional manner, as he has done in the past.”

Holmes continued, “I look forward to working very closely with Mr. Famolare in the future, and I am happy to put this unpleasant episode behind us and the town of Winthrop.”

Famolare, who became aware of Holmes’ decision late Tuesday afternoon, issued a brief statement. “I have been told that I would be reinstated [Wednesday morning] at 8 a.m.,” said Famolare. “The Famolare family is certainly happy that that action is going to be taken in the morning.”

Famolare, who has been fighting unspecified allegations of impropriety since early January, was relieved and gratified to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Vague allegations that Famolare had somehow used his position as harbormaster in town to elicit some personal gain first started to surface in early January, as former Town Manager Rick White prepared to leave Winthrop for a position in the Town of Dennis.

However, the only official statement the town released about Famolare was he had been placed on unpaid administrative leave, pending an investigation into allegations targeting him. Rumors and false reports about the harbormaster swirled, and a local website fueled the situation.

On Tuesday night, Holmes sought to stem the tide of innuendo against Famolare, and put the matter to rest once and for all.

“I won’t have anything further to say about this matter,” said Holmes. “It is a personnel matter, and, as such, Mr. Famolare has his right to privacy. I held a hearing on the issue, I weighed all of the allegations, and this is my finding. I make no apologies for it.”

During his tenure as harbormaster, Famolare has been credited with helping to professionalize the harbormaster corps by overseeing training and accreditation for all deputy harbormasters working for the town. He has also overseen the growth of the fleet of harbormaster boats, from one vessel to three, and a fireboat. He was instrumental in the completion of the new town pier at the public landing.

Famolare oversaw the design and construction of the pier and associated docks and also helped to develop the lottery method for awarding slips to local boaters. Famolare created the new schedule of fees and fines that pays for all harbormaster activities.

Under Famolare’s leadership, the collection of waterways usage fees and other town harbor-related incomes has risen dramatically. Prior to the vague allegations that were leveled against him in January, Famolare had never been accused of any indiscretions or wrongdoing in his 10 years of service as a harbormaster.

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