Comptroller for City of Lynn wins $1million in whistleblower lawsuit

The former comptroller for the City of Lynn Massachusetts won $1 million last week Œ in his whistleblower suit after a jury found that he was illegally fired in retaliation for testifying at a City Council hearing against his boss, the city’s Chief Financial Officer.

John Pace was fired in 2011 violating the Massachusetts Whistleblower Protection Act. He had held the city’s CFO position until 2003 when the previous mayor replaced him with Richard Fortucci, the then Treasurer. The new mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy then suspended Fortucci and named Pace acting CFO. While acting as CFO, Pace was paid a stipend of $500 a week on top of his annual comptroller salary of $111,000.

In documents, Fortucci contended that the overpayment was self-dealing and he fired Pace. Pace said it was a miscommunication.

The Massachusetts Whistleblower Protection Act protects public employees from retaliation for reporting or objecting to activity they reasonably believe violates a law or regulation.