Alleged F-Bomb was Misinterpreted Asthma Attack, Selectman Says

Seekonk police investigate an argument between Board of Selectmen Chair Francis Cavaco and Public Works Superintendent Bob Lamoureux.

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.

Amy December 13, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Deb if you have the opportunity to watch the Selectmen meetings, believe me, the bias and personal vendetta McLintock and Cavaco have against Mr. Lamoureux is obvious. My issue with both of them started when I saw how they treated people who actually show up at these meetings to speak. (I'm not one of them :0). Yes, Mr. Cavaco should be replaced at all costs. I'm disapointed Mr. Sagar voted present. However, his vote I hope, will at least renew Mr. Lamoureux's contract for another year and at least he didn't publically humiliate him if he had issues with his job performance.
Bob Gaudette December 13, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Rob, that's a Christmas present the entire town of Seekonk has been long overdue in receiving.
deb of see-attleboro December 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I absolutely agree, Rob. I hope the town replays the meeting. Based on what little I know, Sagar chickened out.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Rob, I like Joe Siegel at The Sun Chronicle, but Seekonk Patch also reported on the vote. Go here to read the story: http://patch.com/A-0rTY
Amy December 13, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I'm still mad at all of them too! I believe the meetings are run again over the weekend.
deb of see-attleboro December 13, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I still have no opinion about Mr Lamoureax. However, a red flag is raised when a department head feels the need to run to the police when offended. What is this? Middle school? IMO, this is that proverbial can of worms.
baitcutter02 December 13, 2012 at 05:38 PM
seekonks finest?? if our finest use these words we are in a lot of trouble-- and according to the police report there was at least one witness-- do you really want someone of this low quality leading the town --
baitcutter02 December 13, 2012 at 05:41 PM
couldnt agree ore
baitcutter02 December 13, 2012 at 05:42 PM
good comment--I voted for him--he has surely let me down
Emcee of Seekonk December 13, 2012 at 05:58 PM
It is really time for Mr. Cavaco to give it up. I can't imagine his being effective going forward. At this point, he is beginning to damage the town and starting to bring down others, ie: the TA who certainly isn't looking too good to me lately, Gary Sagar who appears to not know which way to jump. As for Mr. Lamoureux, if there really is something in the recent past, some damning revelation as Mr. McLintock suggests, worthy of this man losing his job, then bring it out now. Otherwise, from where I sit, this just looks like vendetta inspired witch hunt, and Lamoureux appears to be the victim.
Doreen December 13, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Unfortunately when a person feels threatened they almost have to have an official account of what happened and thereby needing the assistance of the police. It's the way of today's society. Why the police respond? Because they have to. Also when you go to a Selectmen's meeting keep in mind it is "their" meeting and while conducted as an open meeting they do not have to allow anyone opportunity to speak.
Brian December 13, 2012 at 06:58 PM
People. Grow up. I have no idea if Mr Cavaco did indeed use profanity - even if he did, why are we calling the police? Come on. Is this how our town officials are spending their days? I'm even a little embarrassed that I'm even wasting my time commenting on this ridiculous series of events.
Carol Bragg December 13, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I didn't feel I had to apologize to Mr. Cavaco at the meeting, having done so quietly at my house. I wanted to suggest that it's possible for someone to have the courage to apologize publicly because so many public apologies are needed. I was simply trying to set a good example of one habit we need to develop in Seekonk. Apologizing for mistakes or for speaking sharp words to another person is a good thing if you value human relationships.
Amy December 13, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Doreen when the Chairman askes if anyone from the public wishes to speak, then is allowed to come to the podium, then they are allowed to speak. Corect? I'm just asking the question.
Carol Bragg December 13, 2012 at 07:35 PM
It's always a good idea to try something out yourself before recommending that others do it. There's a wonderful story that Gandhi's grandson Arun tells about a little boy who had been told by the doctor that he shouldn't eat sugar. The boy had great difficulty with this instruction so his mother took him to Gandhi for advice. Gandhi had a few words with the boy then sent him away, telling him to come back in two weeks. When the boy returned, Gandhi informed he that he'd gone without sugar for two weeks and it was indeed possible not to eat sugar. I'm happy to say from experience that it's possible to muster the courage to offer a public apology in the Selectmen's meeting room with no ill effects except some friends thinking you're crazy and other people believing that the recipient of the apology is not worthy of an apology. I can now recommend that public apologies should become a practice in Seekonk.
deb of see-attleboro December 13, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Doreen: This is true. However, based on the police report and Mr Lamoureax's own statement, there was no need for the DPW chief to feel threatened. He is the one who pursued Mr Cavaco.
Daniel F. Devine December 13, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Ron C December 14, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Let's remember folks that as it stands right now there is no one running against Mr. Cavaco. My second point has to do with the revelation that Mr. Cavaco had a meeting with all of the department heads to order them to stop talking to other Selectman. The fact that he even had to gather them all and tell them alerts me that our department heads have no faith in our town administrator. If it was one department head then I would just chalk that up to a personality conflict but Mr. Cavaco had to address all of them which should be a huge wake up call to the public about what is going on at town hall. After her unprofessional behavior at the last meeting (with another department head) I believe it is time for the Selectman to start the process of terminating and replacing Ms. Nolan. Quite frankly, if it is between our department heads and the town administrator its a no brainer, the town administrator has to go. These people are all professionals who would never call her out in public so its up to us, as taxpayers, to read the writing on the wall and demand action.
deb of see-attleboro December 14, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Ron: What you say may be true. But what you say is nothing new. For as long as I can remember, if a selectman (or TA) is willing to act as a puppet for the town workers, he/she will stay in their good graces. When one falls out of line, he/she can expect trouble. Yes. IMO, Ms Nolan's public handling of Mrs Huck was unprofessional. However, I would still like her to get to the bottom of what happened with that gambling license. Did Mrs Huck really go out on her own and apply? Or did a member of the BOS give her permission to apply without Ms Nolan's knowledge? Would it surprise you if protocol was not followed and Mrs Huck, unfortunately, fell on the sword for someone? I am just speculating, of course. But it wouldn't surprise me. And what about the incident with the Veteran's statue? Who told Cavaco the barrel was placed over the statue because people kept walking into it. He said he thought it was someone he could trust. Apparently not. IMO, their are just too many loose ends to cast aspersions on any single person.
paul December 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Most citizens of Seekonk don't care about town hall, we just want basic services with no drama. If someone says an f-bomb or puts a barrel over a statue or gets a bingo license from the state, we don't want to hear about it, it's all immature and unprofessional behavior making our town look like it's run by a bunch of self serving, power tripping, spoiled brats. Seekonk politicians & town workers should always keep the towns best interest in mind and heart. Please stop nit picking and bickering with one another and be classy, especially when on TV. This is not the Army and people should not be ordered around. Lets start 2013 with a clean slate!
Emcee of Seekonk December 14, 2012 at 01:14 PM
"Lets start 2013 with a clean slate!" Excellent idea, although it might be tricky with the same old characters writing on the slate. However, it is a noble goal. Now, what was I saying about that miserable SOB BOS member Mr. ... ?
Amy December 14, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Since the BOS and Dept. Heads interview and hire the Town Administrator Candidates they get what they get. I don't know very much about Mrs. Nolan to criticize her. I do think the BOS micromanage and never let anyone do their job or run their own departments. One thing we can do something about is vote for or against someone. Even if it means driving all the way to the opposite end of town after work to one polling place. Just sayin...:)
deb of see-attleboro December 14, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Of course you are correct paul. But based on the ariticles that draw the most comments, one would never know it. I mostly want to know how the tax shift was dealt with. Was it even dealt with? I thought it was on the agenda.
Carol Bragg December 14, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Give Mr. Lamoureux and the Seekonk Police their due. Bob has been publicly and relentlessly harassed by certain members of the Board of Selectmen since 2008. Within recent memory, one Board member rose from his seat in a threatening manner when Bob was at the podium. His supervisor does not speak up for him when he's being treated this way. For the most part, other Selectmen remain silent, as do members of the public. Where does a department head turn when he's being harassed? I have been harassed and turned to the Seekonk Police for assistance. Whether we are department heads or residents, we have a right to feel safe and secure in this town. I, for one, thank the good Lord that the Seekonk Police are there and willing to do whatever they can. Unless you have experienced severe harassment over time, you may not be in a position to judge why someone would turn to the police.
deb of see-attleboro December 14, 2012 at 02:38 PM
The micromanaging is a red herring. I would bet dollars to donuts that the town workers are more likely to approach the selectmen than the other way around. Whenever the employees don't get their way, they accuse their nemeses of micromanaging. Granted, most employees work hard and mind their own business. It is the few bad apples who make the most noise that give the town a bad name. This is the #1 symptom of small town politics for which there is no known cure.
Emcee of Seekonk December 14, 2012 at 04:12 PM
@deb... "I mostly want to know how the tax shift was dealt with. Was it even dealt with? I thought it was on the agenda." When I tuned in, Paul Buckley (I think) was at the podium explaining the mysteries of setting town tax rates... you multiply by x if it's raining, and y if it's not. So I know the subject was discussed, but I don't know the result of it. Maybe Jonathan or Paul could clear the matter up for us.
Joe December 16, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Emcee of Seekonk the tax shift was discussed. I believe that they agreed to leave everything the way it was for last year and they are going to, if I'm not mistaken, set the tax rate at the next meeting. Stay tuned
Daniel F. Devine December 16, 2012 at 03:55 PM
WHY ? Do politicians/representatives constantly LIE to us? ~ Do they think we're as ignorant as they are? ~ "ASTHMA ATTACK" my ass! ~ Excuse my language I'm having an "ASTHMA ATTACK" ~ An even better question is WHY does the public continue to vote for these imbeciles?
Carol Bragg December 16, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Daniel: Lying is sometimes an illness, a pathology, developed at a very young age to cover for low self-esteem. In such cases, a person lies as a matter of habit and is not able to distinguish between truth-telling and lying. No need to call such a person an imbecile. But certainly the public shouldn't continue to vote for people who lie, whether knowingly or because they are sick.
William Rice December 18, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Deb, you don't know what you are talking about. There are no bad apples amoung the department heads and theit staff. They bust their guts to do a great job for Seekonk. As their reward they get abused by some selectmen. You are way off base.


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