I do know of some towns especially on the cape that have issues with their selectmen. For example: :roll:NSP233 said:I guess my question would be to all the non civil service cops out there what can I expect. I work currently with a guy who claims he worked full time for a non civil service town for six years and suddenly didn't get reappointed because he gave a cousin of a selectman a ticket....But so many people tell stories I don't know if it is true and I don't understand this "reappointment every year" thing.
Any advice would be great. Thanks.
Friday, June 20, 2003
Police reappointment sparks discussion and debate
WELLFLEET - Although police officers Jonathan Taylor and James Campbell declined an invitation to speak with selectmen Monday, the board voted unanimously to reappoint the pair to the police department.
The board initially voted 4-1 to reappoint Taylor and Campbell, with Selectman Jerry Houk voting no. At the end of the meeting, more than two hours later, he changed his vote to make the appointments unanimous.
"We were not trying to deny them tenure," Houk said after the meeting. "I was hoping to set a standard so that when the next group comes up for tenure, we could bring them in and ask them what they've learned about working in Wellfleet, and what they see as their problems. What's wrong with that? I think the best thing we could do, when we hire new police officers, is to interview them."
Houk had proposed that the officers come in so that the board could talk with each one about their philosophy of policing before approving their reappointment. He noted that come December, both officers will be tenured. But Town Administrator Tim Smith told the selectmen that Detective Michael Mizzen, president of the union, notified him by letter that Taylor and Campbell had declined the invitation.
Houk said he saw no harm in making the invitation, and was disappointed that Campbell did not show up. He said he did not think the board should allow "someone to choose when and where they are going to speak to you. If you do that, then this board is not going to have any authority."
Houk was talking when Selectman Dale Donovan, chairman, allowed Smith to explain that the tenure issue was a "moot point," and nothing the board could act upon. Houk angrily protested Donovan allowing Smith to talk when he had the floor, but to no avail.
After the meeting, Donovan said a police officer, after one year on the job, has tenure, under the town contract. State law also provides tenure after five years on the job. But even with tenure, he noted, the board can fire any officer if they have cause.
Berta Bruinooge, co-chairwoman of the disbanded Public Safety Review Committee, said in a phone conversation that she agreed with Houk.
"In a town this size, I see no reason why citizens, especially active citizens who are selectmen, should not know who the police officers are. Twenty years ago, I knew all the policemen who worked in town, and I think it's certainly a good idea that we know all the officers. It would be fine for them to at least know the selectmen. There is no reason why a police officer should think this is bad, or wrong, or get defensive about it. It's too bad, that in a small town like this, we can't all know each other."
Matt Frazier, who co-chaired the Public Safety Review Committee with Bruinooge, said officers are concerned that things in the past will be "dredged up" if they appear before the selectmen. "I think perhaps a certain tone was perceived by some people that Jerry was obviously a vocal proponent of the public safety review committee, which failed miserably due to a total lack of communication from the management arm of the department." He said he got no cooperation from Chief Richard Rosenthal, although questions put to the "rank and file" of the police department were answered.
Houk said Campbell missed a good opportunity for public relations with the board and the police department by failing to come to the meeting.
Donovan said he saw no need for selectmen to interview police officers. "Why just police officers?" he said. "Why not lifeguards? Would we interview them, too?"
The police have made an effort to introduce themselves to the community, Donovan said. They prepared a booklet about their backgrounds and families, which is available to the public. "The more time we spend with this sort of thing, demonstrating that we have the authority to do it (interview officers), the less time we spend on our real responsibility as selectmen, which is to make policy," he said.
Rosenthal said his officers have no objection to talking to the board.
"But it was the way it was presented; that was a problem, that prior to making the reappointments the board wanted to interview the officers." When Houk first suggested that the officers come in before being reappointed, Rosenthal objected, and told the board if it failed to make the appointments, this was tantamount to firing the officers. "A failure to reappoint is the same as a termination, and that's right in the statute," he said.
Smith said he wished selectmen had notified him earlier that they wanted to meet with the officers before reappointing them.
"I don't think the police would have had any problems if they had been given some advance notice, but this all came on at once, that we wanted them to come in," he said. "If the selectmen have an issue that they want to talk about, bring it up before the meeting because I can't react at the meeting. All I can say is, 'I'll get back to you.'"