The city of Methuen should “explore all avenues of recourse” against embattled former Police Chief Joseph Solomon for allegedly allowing the improper payment of more than $1.5 million to seven employees who worked as full-time police officers when they weren’t officially in the civil service system. That’s according to the state Civil Service Commission that released a 43-page investigation this week alleging that Solomon “circumvented” the law and “submitted false information” in order to employ personnel who were not qualified, effectively keeping others from earning well-deserved income.

“Chief Solomon, in plain sight over a period of years, operated a parallel, unlawful, non-civil service system of police officers,’’ the commission wrote. “It is inconceivable that a public employee could completely evade accountability for such misconduct by simply filing for retirement benefits.”

Solomon could not be reached for comment on this story.

The report comes nearly three years after the Boston Globe reported that Solomon was one of the highest paid police chiefs in the country. He was put on unpaid leave and then retired after a December 2021 state inspector general report focused on alleged misconduct related to his compensation.

The commission report states that “the most brazen example of abuse,” involves the city’s former chair of the city council, Sean Fountain. The report says Solomon employed Fountain as a full-time police officer although he was not certified by the Municipal Police Training Committee to work full-time as a police officer, failed to complete a required physical examination, and surpassed the city’s maximum age requirement of 35 at the time of hiring.

The commission states that Fountain also should be held accountable for his part in the alleged abuse. “Nor should Sean Fountain be permitted to avoid accountability for his misconduct,’’ the report said.

Fountain also could not be reached for comment. In 2021, Fountain filed his own ongoing legal case against the city of Methuen in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in a dispute over his employment.

In a prepared press release, Methuen Mayor Neil Perry praised the commission’s work and stated he has cooperated with regulators since he took office in 2020. He said a city investigation into Fountain’s credentials is ongoing.

“My goal since taking office has been to oversee a transparent process through whatever investigatory agencies needed to be involved to ensure that the City of Methuen moved beyond the scandals and back room deals that have plagued it for too long,’’ he said. “I pledge that the City looks forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the Commission as it complies with the Commission's order.”