Holyoke city councilor arrested for child porn to be present at Tuesday meeting

Holyoke City Councilor Will Puello said he plans to weigh in on important city topics after he was not allowed at the last meeting.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:23 PM EDT
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HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A Holyoke city councilor, arrested on child pornography charges, will be at Tuesday’s city council meeting after a judge ruled that he could be there. He said he plans to weigh in on important city topics after he was not allowed at the last meeting.

Will Puello is a Holyoke city councilor and is facing child pornography charges in Rhode Island. At the last city council meeting, he said he was told he was not allowed to attend.

“I was told I’d be forcibly removed from coming, whatever that means,” Puello explained.

At that meeting, assistant city solicitor Kathleen Degnan said Puello was removed from his position because of Section 46 of the city charter which, in short, states a councilor can be removed if they were convicted of a crime. However, Puello told Western Mass News that the city knew that clause wouldn’t apply because he was never convicted.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the city attorneys knew what they were doing. They knew that Section 46 didn’t come in to play,” Puello added.

City councilors did not have a vote to remove him, which Puello said would have been necessary. Holyoke City Councilor Linda Vacon sent us a statement that read, in part:

“The action taken against Councilor Puello occurred without prior communication from the president of the city council to the full city council and without prior legal opinion/advice to, or discussion with the full city council. It was my understanding the city of Holyoke would let the legal process take place, with the presumption of innocence, as our justice system requires.”

Puello sued the city and a judge ruled in his favor, saying the city had no legal basis to remove him from his job. He explained the judge’s ruling is only for Tuesday’s meeting and he will have to take this issue further in order to maintain his elected seat.

“The reason that it’s temporary was because there was a meeting coming up, so we wanted to get it done quick, but there’s obviously going to be more to come,” Puello explained.

In the meantime, Puello said he’s eager to return to this city council meeting and vote on the issue of bringing ShotSpotter technology to the city, which was discussed in the meeting he was not allowed to attend.

“We lost our ShotSpotter vote, our really important ShotSpotter vote, one vote, and it was my vote, so I’m looking forward to coming in tonight and hopefully rectifying that,” Puello said.

The city council meeting starts tonight at 7 p.m. This issue is expected to be brought up in discussion Tuesday night.