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State Police union picks new president amid federal probe of campaign donations

Massachusetts State Police Headquarters in Framingham.
Massachusetts State Police Headquarters in Framingham.(Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/file)

The union that represents Massachusetts State Police troopers installed a new president Monday after its former leader stepped down last week amid a federal investigation into possible illegal reimbursement of campaign donations by union members.

Sergeant Mark S. Lynch was appointed to the post by the board of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, known by its acronym SPAM, according to an announcement from the union.

“I want thank the SPAM board for their vote of confidence in me to represent our men and women. Our department and union have faced many challenges over the last 18 months and I look forward to working with Colonel [Kerry] Gilpin and the members of the SPAM board to restore confidence in our department and forge a positive relationship with the administration,” Lynch said in a statement.

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He said he plans to work with the union’s board in the coming weeks and reach out to members “to assess the appropriate next steps for our organization.”

“I will be meeting with Colonel Gilpin shortly to identify issues of mutual concern and to discuss the well-being of this department,” Lynch’s statement said. “I appreciate everyone’s patience as I get further educated on the challenges and solutions available to us.”

Lynch has served in the State Police for 37 years and was a union representative for Troop A before his appointment Monday, a union spokesman said.

State records show Lynch made $185,387 working for the agency last year, including $39,719 in overtime and $19,396 in detail and other pay.

In 2015, the union’s newspaper published a campaign appeal Lynch wrote to become the Troop A representative, highlighting how he would advocate on their behalf.

“I will passionately represent you in any investigation involving a trooper as I have been there myself,” Lynch wrote. Lynch noted that he had faced scrutiny, including internal investigations, during his career.

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Lynch wrote that his own “experiences were not comfortable and have stayed with me in my career. Each of these incidents was a learning experience and I also recognized steps that should have been taken by the SPAM representative.”

Lynch, through a spokesman, declined to comment further.

He replaces Trooper Dana Pullman, who led SPAM for six years before he abruptly announced his resignation Friday. Pullman cited “personal reasons” and through the union’s attorney denied any wrongdoing in connection to the union’s campaign donations. Pullman is not facing criminal charges.

In July, Assistant US Attorney Fred Wyshak subpoenaed all financial records of the union, including bank account information, according to someone with firsthand knowledge. He also sought all documents related to political donations made by the 21 members of the union’s executive board.

Prosecutors are looking at whether the union reimbursed its board members for political contributions, according to the person with direct knowledge.

Wyshak is the same prosecutor heading up the wide-ranging investigation into alleged overtime fraud that has led to federal charges against six current and former troopers, while two others have been charged by state prosecutors who are conducting a separate probe.

The overtime fraud scandal is one of a series of scandals that have left the State Police reeling. Dismal morale has been cited as driving force behind a surge in trooper retirements this year.


Andrea Estes and Jeremiah Manion of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele.

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