Bob Lamoureux, Seekonk's public works superintendent, said when he greeted Board of Selectmen Chair Francis Cavaco in a Town Hall hallway Tuesday morning, Cavaco responded with an unfriendly command that featured an expletive. But Cavaco said he was having an asthma attack at the time and Lamoureux misunderstood him. The incident was investigated by the Seekonk Police Department.
There were no eyewitnesses to the exchange between the two men, who have had a contentious relationship. Town Engineer David Cabral said he heard the expletive, according to a police report written by Lt. David Dyson (the report is attached, it contains profanities). Town Clerk Jan Parker and Assistant Town Clerk Karen McHugh told Dyson that Lamoureux followed Cavaco into their office immediately following the incident.
"[Parker and McHugh] said when Mr. Cavaco entered the clerk's office, he was following by Mr. Lamoureux stating, 'Excuse me, excuse me,'" Dyson wrote. "Mr. Cavaco responded by saying, 'I didn't say anything.' They stated Mr. Lamoureux called Mr. Cavaco a liar and told Ms. Parker and Ms. McHugh, 'He told me to go [expletive] myself.'"
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When asked about the incident by Seekonk Patch, Cavaco said he had no comment, but he had been cleared in the incident. The police report does not actually reach a conclusion on whether Cavaco used the expletive, but it does state it would not have been a criminal matter even if he had.
"There would be no criminal charges as this amounted to unprofessional conduct if the language could be verified," Dyson wrote.
He further wrote that he interviewed Cavaco about the incident at his home. Cavaco told him he did not use the expletive.
"He said as he passed [Lamoureux] in the hallway, he had an asthma attack and Mr. Lamoureux misunderstood him," Dyson wrote. "He went on to say, 'I always admit when I'm wrong,' and he proceeded to demonstrate his asthma attack for me."
Lamoureux issued a statement to the media featuring his version of the incident, which also includes a call for Cavaco to resign (the statement is attached, it contains profanities). He wrote that shortly after the incident happened, he and Cabral walked into Town Administrator Pam Nolan's office to tell her about it.
"When we entered her office, Mr. Cavaco was sitting with her," Lamoureux wrote. "I gave Ms. Nolan my account of the incident, and she asked me to calm down. I asked her if she would be calm under the circumstances. Ms. Nolan again asked me to calm down, and then she said she couldn't talk [to] me."
After leaving Nolan's office, Lamoureux went to the police station to file a report. This led to the investigation.
Lamoureux added that this was "not the first time that Mr. Cavaco has made demeaning comments to town employees." He wrote about a June incident in which Cavaco addressed the town department heads "in an extremely unprofessional and disrespectful manner."
Lamoureux wrote, "He pointed his finger at the group and in a very loud, if not screaming voice, said, 'You people need to realize that [Ms. Nolan] is in charge and you are not to go to selectmen directly. If you do, there will be action taken.'"
Cavaco told Patch he did speak to department heads in June about bringing their issues to Nolan, but he did not scream and he did not tell them "there will be action taken." He said he gave the instruction because town employees had been speaking about their work problems with another employee, rather than Nolan.