Former Amherst EMS director indicted on felony theft charge

AMHERST – Brian Gleason, who resigned several months ago as Amherst’s Emergency Medical Services director, has been indicted by a Hillsborough County grand jury on a felony theft charge that
alleges he used a
town credit card for personal purchases.

The indictment, handed down last week in Hillsborough County Superior Court North in Manchester, states that Gleason, of 8 Tyler Drive, Goffstown, “did obtain or exercise unauthorized control over the property of another … when he used a Town of Amherst credit card to purchase unauthorized items for personal use.”

The alleged purchases were made over a two-year period, from July 2011 to July 2013, according to the indictment. The document doesn’t specify whether the unauthorized purchases involved goods or services, stating only that their value exceeds $1,500.

The charge, which is a Class A felony, is punishable by a term of 7–15 years in State Prison and up to a $4,000 fine.

Dwight Brew, chairman of the Amherst Board of Selectmen, said Sunday that town officials, during a review of town affairs in November, “found things that didn’t look to be in order.” Upon further investigation, Brew said, officials decided to turn their findings over to Amherst police.

“We had confidence in the police to investigate … to see if they felt there was anything there, and they did,” Brew said.

He said he doesn’t know the exact date on which police arrested Gleason, but believes it was in November. The matter was forwarded to the grand jury, which reviewed the case and found probable cause to indict Gleason.

An indictment is not an indication of guilt, but a finding by the grand jury that prosecutors have enough evidence to move forward with the case.

Gleason, 63, resigned as EMS director in early August, about the same time as town finance director Paul Hebert also tendered his resignation. Selectmen at their Aug. 4 meeting accepted the resignations “with regret and appreciation for (their) service” to the town, according to minutes of the meeting.

The minutes also state that town administrator James O’Mara said he would post the vacancy for finance director immediately, but “will hold off announcing the EMS director position for now.”

In September, Lisa Ambrosio was named the new finance director, but the EMS director post remains vacant.

Assistant Fire Chief Matt Conley has served as acting EMS director since Gleason’s resignation, while also serving as acting fire chief, since the resignation in April of Chief Mark Boynton, who joined the Townsend, Mass. fire department.

Selectmen’s chairman Brew, meanwhile, said Gleason’s resignation came well before town officials noticed financial irregularities and launched the investigation. “The activity was discovered after he left,” Brew said Sunday.

He said the irregularities surfaced during a financial review that was part of a system of financial oversight town officials adopted 2-3 years ago.

“We’re constantly reviewing our procedures, seeing how we could be doing things better. This came to light as part of our ongoing reviews,” Brew said.

Gleason, who has more than 30 years in health care and emergency services, was a paramedic with the regional Chaulk Ambulance Service and the paramedic program director at Elliot Hospital in Manchester until he was hired as Amherst EMS director in summer 2000.

He was the town’s first full-time EMS director, and was chosen from a field of 50 candidates from across the country.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashua Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).