Selectmen reappoint 5 officers
By KIM RING Staff writer
BRIMFIELD - Selectmen last night filled less than a third of the town's police vacancies, despite a recommendation from the chief to name nine people - all former part-time Brimfield patrolmen - to fill the jobs.
Calling the downsizing of the department a budgetary move, Selectman Carol M. Delnegro recommended naming five officers to replace the 18 part-time and auxiliary officers who lost their jobs in July when the board did not reappoint them.
Delnegro said that working without the officers has shown the Brimfield Outdoor Antique Shows "required less manning," and it might not be necessary to appoint so many officers.
But while she wants fewer officers, Delnegro said the $10.05 hourly rate they earn is too low, and she'd like to see it raised.
The town has been without its own officers since selectmen failed to reappoint all but one auxiliary member of the department in July. While the officers, who were organizing as members of the Teamsters' union, called the move union-busting, selectmen denied that, saying they wanted to allow a new chief to choose his own staff.
This week, Chief Charles T. Kuss handed the board a letter asking them to reappoint all but one of the former officers. The man left off the list had not responded to Kuss' request for an interview, he said.
Brimfield Police Association president Charles H. Laperle, who was not appointed last night, said the board didn't keep to its pledge of allowing the chief to staff the department.
"I thought they were going to let the chief choose his officers," Laperle said. "That obviously wasn't true after what we saw tonight. What they did was not what the chief recommended."
Kuss said he will have to carefully watch staffing because the part-timers are limited to a 19-hour work week for the town to avoid paying costly benefits.
Among those appointed last night was Todd J. Canedy, who was on active duty with the military when he was not reappointed. Canedy said in July that the board might have violated federal law by failing to hold his job for him while he was serving his country.
Also appointed were Timothy Grant, Shannon Bingle, Daniel McCarthy and Joel Norton, the department's longtime sergeant.
Selectman Diane Panaccione said she disagreed with Delnegro's plan for appointing only five officers. She voted against appointing McCarthy and Norton, and said she may put forward other candidates when the board meets next month.