WOBURN, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – A Woburn police officer injured in the line of duty is now caught in the crossfire between the city's mayor and city council. Both are at odds over how much retirement money and benefits he will be entitled to the rest of his life.
The debate surrounding 52-year-old Robert DeNapoli has been going on since the fall of 2012; however, at a meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Scott Galvin and the city council failed once again to come to an agreement.
Dozens of citizens came out to the meeting to say the issue of honoring an officer who put his life on the line for his city is being unfairly politicized.
"A guy stood over Officer DeNapoli and tried to execute him," Woburn Police Union President Dana Gately said during the meeting.
Officer DeNapoli was fired at multiple times during a jewelry store robbery at Musto Jewelers in Woburn in 2011.
"I wouldn't carry a gun, I wouldn't carry a badge. And I wouldn't make the sacrifices this man did for us. But he did it for us," Virginia Volpe, a concerned citizen, said.
"The anguish and all that stuff that I'm going through just talking to therapists – I'm still trying to deal with this," Officer DeNapoli, who still suffers from muscle and nerve damage and is blind in one eye, told FOX 25.
Following the incident, Officer DeNapoli was no longer able to work as a police officer.
The mayor thinks when DeNapoli turns 65 his pension should be 80 percent of his annual earnings while the majority of the city council think he should get 100 percent.
Mayor Galvin says his suggestion is comparable to a retirement package other cities have given officers hurt in the line of duty. He also says his proposal would still give DeNapoli the ability to work elsewhere and earn an income.
"What we're trying to do is balance the needs of the DeNapoli family with our obligations not only now, but in the future. And that's what my job is to do. It's to try to step outside the emotion and do the right thing for everybody," Mayor Galvin said.
Several councilors estimate the money the mayor and the council are squabbling over could be roughly $130,000.
Councilman Ray Drapeau's proposal to bring the issue to a voter referendum was voted down.
"The least we can do in this situation is give him what he deserves," Councilman Drapeau said.
The city council voted Tuesday night to send this to a city council committee who will sit down with the DeNapoli family and Mayor Galvin and resolve the issue; however, no specifics on when the meeting will happen have been decided.
The mayor is up for re-election in November.