Less than three months into a tumultuous term as Solicitor, InsideLowell has learned that Helene Tomlinson is no longer with the City of Lowell.
City Hall was buzzing with speculation over the weekend, when Tomlinson did not attend the special City Council meeting Saturday morning, nor did she participate via Zoom, as she had done at a number of other meetings. Multiple sources confirmed her departure late Monday night, describing it as a “mutual parting of ways.”
Corey Williams, who arrived in Lowell the same day as Tomlinson, will ascend from 1st Assistant Solicitor to the top post on an interim basis. Williams has extensive experience in municipal union negotiations and has impressed officials with his work thus far. Even supporters of City Manager Tom Golden have questioned his decision to hire Tomlinson over someone with Williams’ experience in the first place, with one person calling it a “not so golden moment for the Manager.”
Tomlinson, whose tenure in the Law Department began January 9th, was immediately thrust into the center of a school department controversy over hiring practices and a divided School Committee’s desire to seek outside counsel to investigate. As part of the back and forth, Committee members openly questioned Tomlinson’s and the law department’s ability to handle the investigation due to staffing and experience issues.
Some political observers also publicly questioned her lack of experience handling municipal law, in large part based on statements she herself made about unfamiliarity with Robert’s Rules of Order.
The beginning of the end likely came March 15th when the School Committee was expecting a report on hiring complaints, which Tomlinson had not prepared and said she was unaware of, despite a public vote being taken by the committee requesting such a report.