Senior’s Police Chief Search process hardly flawed

Cohasset Citizen Ralph Dormitzer’s recollection of the Town Manager Act (revised Jan. 16, 2014) that he worked on as a member of the Governance committee is wildly wrong.

In addition, he screwed up other facts regarding the Town Manager’s Search process.

Number one.

The Police Chief Appointment is Senior’s. Selectmen can reject or confirm the Town Manager’s nominee. It is my understanding that Senior met with Selectmen weekly to advise them of the process and as to the interesting number of candidates he was meeting. They were not uninformed as Dormitzer states. Further, none of them has complained (in public anyway) about not being informed.

Number two.

Selectmen on a vote of 5-0 agreed that Senior should hire a professional recruiter. Badge Quest’s role would be tri-fold: it would the recruitment/selection and assessment group, staffed by a number of the candidates’ peers. Accordingly, Selectmen were never going to participate in the selection of the police chief search other than to vote it up or down. The Town Manager’s Act says the BOS has no role in this process as a search committee, selectmen committee or assessment group. They simply confirm or deny.

And so, little grasshoppers, when Dormitzer tells you the selectmen never interviewed any of the final candidates, except for Senior’s nominee, he’s just fanning the fire. They weren’t supposed to. Selectmen agreed they would not participate in the process other than to bless it, decreed by the Town Manager’s Act. How quickly Ralph forgets the particulars of a legal document that he worked on.

Note that when a group of citizens in 1987 petitioned for a Town Manager form of government our intention was to REMOVE Selectmen as Managers of the town. Previous to this they had been doing a piss-poor job. And, Town Meeting agreed.

Ralph’s memory must be failing, truly, because the Town Manager’s Amended Act of 2014 doesn’t give Selectmen any extended powers to fully participate in the process of hiring a police chief, director of finance or fire chief. (See Town Manager’s Act below.) I guess Dormitzer gets the weekly Pinocchio.

Any Town Manager who wants to keep his job is not going to deny Selectmen information and is certainly going to keep his board fully apprised as to the process. To date, we have not heard any Selectmen publicly complaining about being locked out of the process.

This is what Ralph and his committee wrote:


SECTION 5D. Appointment Powers of the Town Manager

(a) The town manager shall appoint upon merit and fitness alone, and may remove, the police chief, fire chief and director of finance subject to the selectmen’s approval by a majority vote of its full membership whose contracts and any changes thereto shall be approved by the board of selectmen.

(b) The board of selectmen shall appoint members of the conservation commission pursuant to section 8C of chapter 40 of the General Laws.

(c) The town manager shall appoint and may remove all department heads not included in subsection (a), as that term may be defined in the town organization chart established from time to time by the town meeting, and all employees under the direct supervision of the town manager. In addition, the town manager shall appoint and may remove all officers, subordinates and employees for whom no other method of selection is provided in this act, except employees of the school department. (d) Appointments made by the town manager pursuant to subsection (a) shall become effective 15 days following the date of written notice of the appointment is filed with the board of selectmen, unless the board of selectmen shall, within that period, by a majority of its members present and voting, vote to reject the appointment or removal. (e) Within the 15 day period, the board of selectmen may, by a majority of its members present and voting, vote to waive its power to reject an appointment pursuant to subsection (d), whereupon the appointment shall become effective immediately.

(f) All appointments by the town manager not included in subsection (a) shall become effective immediately.

(g) Any employee not protected by civil service law or union contract shall have the right to appeal the town manager’s decision to discharge that employee to the board of selectmen. The appeal shall be initiated by filing a written notice of appeal with the town manager within 10 calendar days after receiving a written notice of discharge. The appeal shall be conducted pursuant to processes and procedures as may be established from time to time by the town by-laws.

(h) The town manager, subject to any applicable General Laws relating thereto, may temporarily assume the duties of any office that the town manager is authorized to fill by appointment, subject to approval by the board of selectmen.

© Copyright 2015 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed