The day job has me traveling this week, so posting may be a bit light for a couple of days. Since I’ll be out of town, I won’t be able to attend the Board of Selectmen meeting tonight. Anyone want to go and fill us in on what happens? You can email me with a report, or just post a comment below.
The public portion of the meeting starts at 7:00 pm in the Town House Hearing Room (2nd floor). The agenda includes an update from the Police Chief Search Committee, among other business.
The Metro West News has an update on the Chief search. The article briefly mentions Mr. Rooney’s resignation and the chair of the committee called his resignation a “non-issue”.
Read the letter. A non-issue???????????
“Southborough Board of Selectmen
17 Common Street
Southborough, MA 01772
Re: Police Chief Search Committee
Dear Chairman and Board Members,
First, I want to thank each of you once again for affording me an opportunity to participate in the Town’s search for the next Chief of Police. With a twenty-six year legal background and having grown up inside a police station with a father as a Chief, I thought I could offer value and unique insight in this critical endeavor. The recent action of the Police Chief Search Committee, however, made it clear how very wrong I was in my assumption.
When I sought a position on the Committee, my singular objective was, and has always been, to do what was in the best interest of Southborough and recommend the strongest candidate for the Board’s consideration. The Board’s action in hiring Chief Stephen Unsworth of Badge Quest to work in conjunction with the Search Committee showed a similar commitment in securing the best possible candidate. Chief Unsworth, a retired Chief himself, has been successfully called on by an impressive list of municipalities when confronted with the daunting task of selecting a new Chief.
At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday, September 15, 2009, the Chair of the Search Committee publicly announced that the “vast majority” of “her” committee opposed the utilization of Chief Unsworth during the interview process. She went on to state that the ultimate objective of “her” committee was to maintain its autonomy and urged the Board not to involve Chief Unsworth during the Search Committee’s interview process.
I was the sole Committee voice in support of taking advantage of the experience, guidance, training and wisdom of Chief Unsworth during the interview process. Chief Unsworth’s role has nothing to do with invading the professed autonomy of the Committee. On the contrary, Chief Unsworth’s role is to assist the Committee in selecting the best possible candidate.
The Board listened and I truly believe understood and continues to understand the importance attached to the full utilization of Chief Unsworth. I sincerely commend the Board on its Herculean effort to accommodate everyone. Yet, it became immediately apparent two days later that the majority of the Committee maintained their steadfast adherence to their objective of autonomy and continued resistance to the participation of Chief Unsworth. Faced with an insurmountable and irreconcilable impasse with the interview process, it became obvious that it was in the best interest of the Town of Southborough for me to resign my position on the Committee.
Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect process. Nevertheless, it is categorically unassailable that utilizing Chief Unsworth as a consultant and participant during the interview process is preferable to not utilizing his services. As Chief Unsworth has previously noted, when a Town is hiring a new Police Chief, “you cannot afford to make a mistake.” While it may have taken some of the aura of autonomy away from the Committee, the Committee’s autonomy should be secondary to acting in the best interest of the residents of the Town of Southborough. I was unable to convince my fellow members of this position, and remaining a part of the Committee served only to disrupt.
The Committee’s strength was in its diversity. I am honored to have had the privilege of meeting and working with the individual Committee members. Until the “vast majority” in opposition to Chief Unsworth appeared, debate and discourse was healthy and productive. Thereafter, it was non-existent and not tolerated. One’s integrity and professionalism are sacred, and I could not adhere to the indifference being afforded Chief Unsworth.
Thank you all again. I wish the Town the best in its search for the next Police Chief.”
According to the newspapre, Rooney resigned because the committee wouldn’t agree to use the expert hired by the town during the interviews. Rooney was the only one on the committee with any legal background, correct? Why wouldn’t you use the expert during the interviews? How do we know we are getting the best people for the job? OMG what a sham.
I just posted more on the police chief finalists and Rooney’s resignation here: