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Brimfield chief off probation

Brimfield chief named

James F. Russell
CORRESPONDENT
Worcester Telegram


BRIMFIELD- A divided Brimfield Board of Selectmen formally ended Police Chief Charles T. Kuss' probationary period last night even though his appointment last August was contingent on the chief first obtaining state certification to make an arrest in town.

Selectman Robert C. Cheney said the chief is doing an excellent job, and said it is the "state's problem, not Brimfield's" that Chief Kuss does not have full police powers.

"I don't see the need for another probationary period," Mr. Cheney said. "If it (the state granting Chief Kuss police powers) happens six months from now, nine months from now, fine. I have no worries about this."

Chairman of Selectmen Carol M. DelNegro, who voted with Mr. Cheney to abolish the probationary period and give the chief a full one-year term, would have preferred the chief continue in a probationary status. Ms. DelNegro, who said the town was in a dilemma, also suggested consulting the town's legal counsel.

She said the "original condition" under which the chief was hired Aug. 4 "was subject to him securing the waiver within six months." Chief Kuss' application to the state to waive the mandatory 21-week police academy, which would allow him the authority to make an arrest, is under review. The state board took no action on the town's and the chief's waiver request last week.

Chief Kuss "will not be able to patrol or make an arrest" until the waiver is granted, Ms. DelNegro said. "I would like to see him reappointed with probation. That would allow us, if need be, to remove him from his position without explanation but I can forgo that."

The board voted 2-1 to "appoint Chief Kuss until June 30, 2005, pending his certification."

Selectman Diane M. Pannacione, who voted against the motion, said, "The chief has done a wonderful job, but that is not the point."

"As far as I am concerned, he should be done June 30" of 2004, "until he has his certification" or continue as chief in a probationary status, she said.

Chief Kuss said he was surprised the state did not grant him full police powers.

"I did not expect there would have been any problems" obtaining the waiver, he said at the meeting.

The chief was informed in a November 2002 letter that he was eligible to seek a waiver provided he verify training in firearms, criminal law, first responder and CPR. The November 2002 letter indicated a municipality must seek the waiver on his behalf once he had obtained the prerequisites.

During an interview last October the chief said he began the process of gaining the four training courses after his August appointment. The chief retired from the Boynton Beach, Fla., police department as a senior sergeant in 2001 after a 20-year career.

"I am kind of at the" state's "mercy," Chief Kuss told selectmen. "The timing is awkward, but truthfully, I am a 99.9 percent administrative chief. I don't think a chief has made an arrest in this town for many years."

Contacted last night, former Brimfield Police Chief John D. Jovan said he "assisted in numerous arrests" while chief from November 2000 until April 2003.

"In a small town, you have no choice," he said. "I patrolled, issued criminal complaints and citations and directed officers at crime scenes."

In another matter, the board granted selectmen's clerk Jennifer LaFleur a leave of absence from June 21 until July 2 for an undisclosed reason.

Ms. LaFleur "is entitled to 12 weeks" under the "family and medical leave" provision, Ms. DelNegro said.

In other business, Mr. Cheney announced that the Brimfield Open Space Committee would present its recommendations during a public meeting at 7 tonight at Town Hall.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: This is too much :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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He wouldn't have had these problems if he had moved from MA to FL! :D
 
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