Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Police Chief Appointment Coming

Norton Town Manager Jim Purcell will appoint a new Police Chief in the next couple of weeks, and only one thing is for certain - it will be one of the applicants from within the current department.

Of course, that is because only current department members were allowed to apply. Afraid to buck Civil Service and the politically active police officers and firefighters, Norton selectmen caved and did the easier thing by keeping the appointment local.

Because of that, we are guaranteed our next Chief will have no experience as a police chief. That is not to say the current candidates are not qualified, or will not do a good job. It is simply recognizing a fact - this was a rigged appointment process that can only result in one of the current officers getting the job.

Supporters of this system will say this is necessary to "keep the politics out" of the process. But that is a load of crap. That will be proven by the political fallout over the appointment, whoever it is.

Appointing a new chief will always be political, regardless of how you do it. Despite the best efforts of the Town Manager, this remains a political appointment as well as a professional hiring. And no matter who is chosen, you will hear grumblings about who got it, why they got it, and who favored who. It's just the way it is.

It is a shame this job could not be advertised in a way that qualified, experienced candidates from across the state could have applied had they chosen to do so. Then, if one of the current department officers had gotten the job, no one could say it was because the pool of applicants was artificially limited.

It will be interesting to see who is hired this week, and if there are any appeals of the process.

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