A Massachusetts community whose police chief has been off the job for nearly two years amid an investigation has a new acting chief.
Mansfield Police Chief Ron Sellon has been on paid administrative leave since October of 2021. After launching a private investigation into workplace misconduct allegations, town leaders concluded he was not fit to serve as top cop.
Deputy Michael Ellsworth had been acting police chief in Sellon's absence, but he announced his retirement this week after 30 years with the department.
Town Manager Kevin Dumas says retired Easton Police Chief Gary Sullivan will take his place.
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As the NBC10 Boston Investigators first reported last year, the town did not disclose to taxpayers that it had put Sellon on leave. Eventually, missing fliers started popping up around Mansfield when Sellon was nowhere to be found at the public safety headquarters.
The NBC10 Boston Investigators learned the town hired a private investigator to probe allegations of harassing, bullying and unbecoming conduct during his tenure as police chief.
Last summer, Sellon broke his silence about the allegations during an extensive interview with the NBC10 Boston Investigators.
"I have done my very level best to resolve this situation and to bring it to an amicable close. I'm still sitting here waiting," Sellon told us.
The police chief said the allegations against him were not "flattering," but did not rise to the level of misconduct.
"I am absolutely fit to serve as the police chief," Sellon responded.
However, town leaders saw it differently.
The private investigation sustained a number of allegations against Sellon, including profanity-laced outbursts; angry and threatening messages to subordinates; abusive and disrespectful behavior; and damaging his town cellphone after throwing it in his office.
The town also released a doorbell video that captured Sellon screaming things like "[expletive] Mansfield" and "I'm going to haunt them and their [expletive] children" while banging on things outside his home.
Town leaders concluded Sellon was not fit to serve as the police chief. In response, Sellon claimed the private investigation was retaliation because he did not make an OUI "go away" for Dumas.
Dumas denied that accusation and called it an attempt by Sellon to "distract attention from his egregious misconduct."
Financial records NBC10 Boston obtained show the town paid about $38,000 for the private investigation and has also tallied thousands more on legal fees related to the controversy.
Meanwhile, taxpayers have shelled out well over $600,000 for two police chief salaries.
Ryan Kath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.