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Selectmen say all's fair in cop out
Brimfield Police Department, Massachusetts

by Franci Richardson
Saturday, July 5, 2003

A week before the popular Brimfield Antique Show, the town selectmen have dismissed all their police officers except the acting chief.

And they don't think it's a big deal.

``We're not losing coverage, at least in our judgment,'' said Robert Cheney, who chairs the board.

Selectmen learned this week that by failing to reappoint 15 officers by the end of the fiscal year, they had essentially dismissed the part-time employees.

Cheney said the town will take two weeks to appoint a new chief and allow him to choose his own staff. In the meantime, to get through the popular festival, the town will use special detail officers and rely mainly on the 18 hours of daily patrolling by state police.

Some of the rank and file believe selectmen harbor bad feelings as they try to organize a union.

``We certainly view it as a retaliation for organizing,'' said police officer Charlie Laperle, president of the Brimfield Police Association. ``The association feels this is a lock-out type of move.''

But Cheney denied the charge.

``We feel it's good management and probably good policy to have a police chief review who he wants to appoint,'' Cheney said.
 

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``We feel it's good management and probably good policy to have a police chief review who he wants to appoint,'' Cheney said.
Sounds more like a mix of Rhode Island politics and the good ol boy network down south.

This is my brother Deputy Darrel and my other brother Deputy Darrel and so on and so on...
 

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The AG office should investigate this. How can they just let 15 cops go in that town. This is unheard off, except for Spencer, but that was something totally different. Something does not smell legal in this whole ordeal.
 

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Hate to say this, however........................

This wouldn't happen in a Civil Service Community!

Having stated the obvious, I think the town folk should wake up and start asking their ELECTED officials WTF they (selectmen) are taking such a drastic course of action?
:x
 

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My town recently changed to Civil Service...and I know if we didn't that our wonderful Town Administrator would read have read this article and gotten some ideas for himself. Needless to say we are working w/o a contract for over a year...he would love to dump us all.

Wait till all the Brimfield town folk start complaining about dirtbikes, barking dogs... all those stupid minor calls we get sent on, and no one responds. The first thing they should do is call the town hall. Nothing against the SP... they have better things to do than answer foolish calls, that we often get in smaller towns. But just wait till NO ONE responds to those foolish calls...I'm sure the town folk wont be too happy then.
 

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If I remember correctly when Shutesbury PD wanted to go union with the Teamsters the selectman were real jerks then. I was told by my friend (former chief in Shutesbury) that the Teamsters threaten to stop any and all truck deliveries in the town. I wonder how long Brimfield would last if the Teamsters did that in their town?
 

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MCOA41 said:
I was told by my friend (former chief in Shutesbury) that the Teamsters threaten to stop any and all truck deliveries in the town. I wonder how long Brimfield would last if the Teamsters did that in their town?
The Teamsters still do that... I thought that type of bullying went out with Hoffa.

With a population of just over 3000 I seriously doubt that there is that much retail or industry to be affected much by it. Plus there are plenty of OTR or local drivers that do not belong to the Teamsters.
 

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I'm sorry. But I don't think any police department should be affiliated with the most corrupt labor organization in the country. I agree with Gil about the Hoffa comment. Same could be said for Cashman in Boston. They are corrupt. They are criminal. They have no business representing cops. There are other alternatives out there, in Mass. anyways. rhl
 

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Teamsters??? Representing cops??? That is something that should NEVER happen. They ARE criminal and any department thinking of organizing, when offered assistance from them, should politely say "NO THANK YOU". Teamsters would destroy any and all credibility that a department might have.
 
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Remember the Metropolitan District Commission Police? The Mets? They were Teamsters for years and they did very well in the 80's and 90's until they merged into the MSP. When they backed Dukakis in the 80's they doubled in size from 300 to 600 within a few years. The MSP backed King and they didn't have enough gas to put in their bluebirds once the Duke got through with them. Don't knock the Teamsters for their past misdeeds. They still have a very powerful voice in Mass and Washington.
 

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``We feel it's good management and probably good policy to have a police chief review who he wants to appoint,'' Cheney said.[/quote]

I have never heard of a police chief or any other individual taking a position of authority (public or private sector) who was able to come into an organization and hire a whole new team. "Good Management"? Where do they teach that?
 

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A little :eek:t: but...this whole situation reminds me of when I read about the NYPD during the turn of the century. A new mayor would get elected and fire the old Chief and replace him with one of the new mayor's friends who would then fire the whole PD and hire all of the mayor's political allies. Its kind of an interesting footnote in history seeing as this reoccurrence of department wide firing is what started that whole concept of Civil Service.
 

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Just to restate jmooney's case, in Bratton's "Turnaround" and Guliani's "Leadership", it's business as usual when philosophical minds collide...if you are not with me, here is your "pink slip".
 

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Actually, contrary to ELO's comment. It is not the least bit uncommon in the private sector for a new CEO to bring in a new management team(or a BOD to bring in a new CEO expecting a shakeup). In fact, it is often necessary to bring a new team in order to please the Board (and more importantly, the shareholders - because companies exist for the benefit of the shareholders).

The above, however, represents fiduciary obligations and is not applicable to town government. The Board of Selectman have an obligation to serve in the best interests of the safety and well being of the town and its residents. Firing all the PO's, who do the job and do it well, is not in the best interest of the town. This is politics at work. Clearly the selectmen (or perhaps the town administrator on a power trip)have their own motives in this. These clowns are compromising the safety and security of the town. Ask me, they are bordering on negligence.
-Eric
 

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You know what is going to happen? The former officers and the union will bring the town to court. They will win and they will get there jopbs back plus be union and get a nice little amount of $$ to put in their pocket.

The selectman in Brimfield have not bothered to cross their t's and dot their i's. On top of that they pull the bs of hiring an aux female officer the same night they laidoff the officers.
 

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:eek:t: That new female aux officer was my R/I academy president. No one else wanted the president spot so we "volunteered" her to do it.
 

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To keep :eek:t: for just a minute. That happened to me when I went through the R/I Academy back in 94. I was late returning from break (bathroom run) and I came back as the class VP. NEVER be late coming back from a break.
 

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Got o Brimfield PD web site @ http://www.brimfieldpd.org and you will see this:

PLEASE NOTE

The Brimfield Police Department's website is temporarily shut down. The Brimfield Board of Selectmen have voted not to appoint any of the police officers. This site is maintained and administered by the police officers. We regret that we are unable to access our files to keep the site online. We hope to get the site back online as soon as possible.
 

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Thank you for allowing me to post this message. As you may know, I am the president of the Brimfield Police Association. In April of this year, the members of the department created the Brimfield Police Association and voted to have Teamsters Local 170 represent us. In May of this year, the Selectmen decided not to voluntarily recognize the union, instead forcing us to be certified by the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission.

I want everyone to understand that money is not the reason behind the Brimfield Police Association’s quest to organize. Our main objective is job security and to keep the politics out of the police department. We believe that the recent actions of the board display the politics that have plagued the department for many years. Selectman Chairman, Robert Cheney has been quoted in a recent town meeting discussing police mutual aid, “Officer Safety is not my concern”.

The Selectmen have said in recent news interviews that their main objective was to have the (unknown) new police chief appoint his officers, however, they appointed a new officer after refusing to appoint the entire department.

We feel that the only remedy to this situation would be for the Selectmen to appoint ALL of the Officers and work toward developing a communication with the department via the chief of police. I asked Mr. Cheney in a meeting held July 3, 2003 to “do the right thing” and appoint the officers that have served this community well. The board’s response was to fire of all of the officers.

I have been more than willing to sit down with the Board of Selectmen and discuss this matter in a professional manner, however, the Board of Selectmen Chairman, Robert Cheney responded, "I'm too busy".

To all of the brother and sister officers, I say thank you for your support. I want you to know that the Brimfield Police Association members want nothing more than to serve the public's needs and the needs of our townspeople.

Charles Laperle
President
Brimfield Police Association
 

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You're absolutely right. I am confident we will prevail. I truly believe that this is a movement that will show Board of Selectmen, Mayors and Town Administrators that the politics have no place in the police departments. For too long politicians have had a strong hold on departments that are non-union and / or non civil service.

I have learned so much in the last week about politics. Number 1 is that politicians will lie at ALL costs and spin anything for their political advantage.

I find it extremely funny that the people that have come out against the officers of the Brimfield Police Department in the papers have a criminal record with our department. Shouldn't the newspapers look into the backgrounds of the people that comment so negatively and look at a possible motivation behind their comments :roll: .

Again, I thank all of our brother and sister officers for their unending support.
 
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