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East Longmeadow DPW employee Neil Von ...
East Longmeadow DPW employee Neil Von Flatern gets town job back after being cleared of any wrongdoing in fertilizer theft incident
talked on his
cell phone, looked into the utility trailer attached to his
truck, and went on his
On April 20, Von Flatern was seen parked outside the Knights of Columbus in East Longmeadow, where he is a member.
LaFonde met Von Flatern in the rear parking lot of the building and asked Von Flatern to remove the fertilizer bags from the flatbed and place them in his own truck, according to a report by arbitrator Richard G. Boulanger.
put the bags in his
truck and delivered them to LaFond's home on April 21.
On April 23, both men were confronted about the fertilizer.
On April 25, both were fired.
The United Municipal Employees of East Longmeadow union, represented by attorney John Connor, argued that the town did not have just cause to terminate Von Flatern
believed the bags belonged to LaFond.
"Mr. LaFond duped the grievant (Von Flatern) into believing that he had purchased the bags of fertilizer when, in reality, they were town property," the report states.
Town officials also said they believed it was suspicious that Von Flatern
stopped by Lenox on April 19 while LaFond had left the fertilizer unsupervised.
However, Barone confirmed that Von Flatern
did not approach the flatbed or remove any fertilizer.
testified that he
lives near the Lenox plant and was traveling to a customer's home when he
stopped on Chestnut Street to make sure he
had all the necessary equipment for a landscaping job.
After reviewing the case, Boulanger ruled that Von Flatern
should be reinstated as a skilled laborer because he
did not knowingly engage in the theft of town property.
should also receive back wages starting from the day he
was fired, according to Boulanger.
Connor said Von Flatern
is happy to have his name cleared and his job back.
East Longmeadow DPW employee Neil Von Flatern
gets town job back after being cleared of any wrongdoing in fertilizer theft incident