More Turmoil for Mass. State Police Union as President Resigns

More than 500 troopers had signed a petition to oust Sgt. Mark Lynch as head of the group, union sources with direct knowledge told the NBC10 Boston Investigators

The State Police Association of Massachusetts will undergo another leadership shakeup after the president of the union resigned Monday.

Sgt. Mark Lynch faced a likely recall vote this week after more than 500 troopers signed a petition to oust him as head of the group, union sources with direct knowledge told the NBC10 Boston Investigators.

Lynch instead stepped down Monday, announcing in a letter to the group that he can no longer serve as president "due to the direction that the (executive board) has taken."

Lynch, a former representative of Troop A, took over as president of the union in October 2018, replacing former union head Dana Pullman, who stepped down amid a federal investigation into the union's activities.

Turmoil engulfed the union once again last month following Pullman's arrest on charges he embezzled money from the group, allegedly coordinating with a Beacon Hill lobbyist in what federal prosecutors called a kickback and bribery scheme. Pullman's lawyer said last month that Pullman denies the allegations.

Lynch faced growing dissent in recent weeks, leading union members to circulate a petition calling for his ouster. A vote was expected to take place Wednesday at the Sheraton hotel in Framingham, union sources with direct knowledge told the NBC10 Boston Investigators.

In his last internal memo to union members, Lynch recounted taking over the job at a daunting time for state police, who faced a broadening overtime pay scandal and allegations of mismanagement within the union, which represents more than 1,500 troopers and sergeants, and controls more than $2 million in assets — largely made up of union dues.

SPAM, as the union is known, was "failing to achieve even basic objectives and adequately represent our members," Lynch wrote.

"Management and basic controls were inadequate or non-existent, important external relationships had been broken and confidence and trust were at an all-time low both internally and externally," he wrote.

During his time as president, Lynch wrote, he instituted a variety of positive reforms, including terminating the union's relationship with its former lobbyist and former accounting firm, establishing a committee to represent the union in contract talks and increasing communication with members.

"I am proud of the advances we have made, key strategic relationships we have strengthened and the systemic changes we have been able to implement under extraordinarily difficult conditions," Lynch wrote.

Federal investigators began looking into the union's political activities in July 2018. At that time, staff from the FBI and IRS were probing whether Pullman and members of its executive board had engaged in what FBI officials termed a "straw donor scheme," in which members were reimbursed by the union for political donations.

That probe quickly expanded, and the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts allegedly uncovered evidence that Pullman and a lobbyist lined their pockets with bribes and kickbacks.

No union members have been charged with campaign finance violations. But in an affidavit unsealed last month, the FBI alleged that Pullman encouraged members of the union's executive board to submit false reimbursement requests to cover personal expenses, including personal meals and political donations.

Union sources with direct knowledge told the NBC10 Boston Investigators that the union will decide Wednesday whether to continue paying legal fees related to Pullman's arrest and management of the union, which already total more than $900,000.

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