More details on Southborough’s search for a new police chief

Abby from the Metrowest Daily News was at the Selectmen’s meeting last night and reports some additional details about the police chief search committee.

Committee chairwoman Desiree Aselbekian told selectmen that 32 candidates applied. The committee selected eight to interview, but one dropped out before being interviewed, leaving seven. After two nights of interviews, committee members anonymously ranked the seven candidates, including Interim Chief Jane Moran.

They came to a unanimous decision to move forward Moran along with Holden Lt. David Armstrong, Westfield Lt. Hipolito Nunez and Framingham Lt. Paul Shastany.

You can read more in this article in the Metrowest Daily News.

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J J Hillman
13 years ago

I am not a resident of Southborough. As my thinning grey hair can attest, I have worked in law enforcement for many many years. Over that time, I have the privilege to work with some truly outstanding people, including Billy Webber.

I have been involved in many hiring and promotion boards. I have to express my amazement at this fiasco in Southborough. I have never heard of anything like this in my career in law enforcement. It must be embarrassing to you residents in Southborough.

The Metrowest Daily article by Abby states “I want you to know, and I want the public to know, that did not impact the committee’s view at all,” she said. “We took all seven candidates and discussed all seven candidates and came to the unanimous decision to advance the four finalists.”

Sure. I really really want to believe Jane Moran’s selection had nothing to do with Chairman Giordalino’s edict that she be an automatic finalist.

If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge I want to sell to you.

This is an embarrassment to the memory of a fine Chief of Police and a wonderful man.

13 years ago

This is getting nastier as time moves on. I agree with some of the criticsim but not all. First, I think it is unbelievable that applicants were not adequately informed about the status of their application throughout the process and, especially, that interviewees were not notified in advance of the announcement being made of the four finalists at the Selectman’s meeting and in the press. That is very unprofessional and reflects badly on the town and this process. It is an embarrassment!

As for the advancement of Chief Moran, I was present at meetings and would not characterize the suggestion that she advance to the list of finalists as an “edict.” My take is that it was a sincere attempt to recognize the service she has provided to the town during her career and especially for stepping up and acting as chief for a long temporary period.

Mr Challen, by the way, did not “object” to her advancing, only that her being given a “pass” might be interpreted badly. His opinion, I do not believe, should be framed to imply that he does not support her. I would say the opposite is probably true, but he is the only one who can confirm that.

As for the committee taking the “suggestion” and including her as a finalist, they certainly did not hesitate to act contrary to the recommendation of the BOS in utilizing the outside consultant, so why would they not decide to eliminate her if they felt she was not qualified?

I don’t know why Moran’s lawsuit(s) keep coming up either. In the USA I live in, it is one’s right to bring a law suit if injustice is done and it is illegal to discriminate against someone who exercises that right. And, as a previous poster wrote, my information on what was going on at that time tells me that her actions were very likely reasonable and deserved.

Some of you guys have to get past “the fix is in” mentality and move on. I think the criticism smacks as much of unwarranted dicrimination AGAINST Moran as it does of favoritism towards her. In my book, they cancel each other out and put her on level footing with any of the other four candidates.

Let’s learn from the obvious procedural mistakes that were made, rectify them if we can and let’s move on.

Pam T
13 years ago

I generally agree with Mimi22’s conclusion, that it is time to learn from our mistakes and move on. My concern is that I have yet to hear/read that the Selectmen have recognized that any mistakes have been made.

On the other hand, as Mimi22 pointed out, the issue of lawsuit(s) keeps coming up. I have not lived in town long enough to “know the scoop.” Perhaps the actions of the Selectmen in this hiring process have been undertaken with the advice of legal counsel, with an eye to prevent a lawsuit from this series of events. What may seems odd to a non-lawyer such as myself, may be the Selectmen simply following legal advice which may also preclude them from making a public statement.

I’d like to believe that is why they have made some of these decisions that seems to generate such scrutiny.

I am very saddened by Mr. Rooney’s resignation. I know him to be a person of integrity and I find it very troubling that he felt it necessary to resign on principle.

Also, I am saddened to learn that basic courtesy was not extended to the unsuccessful applicants. The Committee chair should acknowledge her error and rectify it with a letter of apology to the unsuccessful applicants.

We all must remember that discrimination lawsuits, although occasionally frivolous, have had the effect of leveling the playing field for women and others.

I know the Selectmen read these postings. Lets all hope they have the courage and insight to see beyond this current situation and to use the remainder of the evaluation process and interviews to select the best possible Chief of Police for our town.

The solution
13 years ago

Do you all really want to fix the problem ?
STOP everything right now. Re-post the job. Notify all applicants that the process was flawed and to re-apply if they wish. Hire a professional consultant – not a committee to weed out the best of the best. Then submit a list of three or four qualified applicants to the BOS. The position has been unfilled since November 2008. Is another six months or less really going to make that much of a difference ? You bet. You might just find that “Great Chief” you are all looking for.

A note to Mimi22 – If you think for one minute that there is not some truth to the “fix is in”, you really need to take your head out of the sand. The inuendo started at the top and worked its way all the way down to the street corner and the coffee shop.

13 years ago

Pam T,

If the Selectmen do not think a mistake has been made, then our town has even bigger problems. And if they have been concerned about a lawsuit, then someone please explain why on Earth they didn’t make the committee use the expert? I don’t see how your theory makes any sense.

The Solution,

I think you are right. The town has already spent our money on an expert. Let him start from square one. That is the only way to fix the ugly mess created by this group of people. What’s the hurry? Admit the mistake and get it right. Or get ready to spend more of our money for lawyers.

The Reality is....
13 years ago

If the Board of Selectman don’t start over, I can see at least 24 candidates who could ask a lawyer to match their qualifications to those of Interim Chief Moran, and when they come back with concrete proof that there are candidates who applied for the job who met or exceeded the qualifications of Jane Moran, the discrimination lawsuits will start. To settle as many as 26 complaints in court or at the MCAD level will cost a lot more than a ladder truck. Residents and appaled at what has happened thrs far and theres enough dirt on this issue alone to make the Baldelli incident look like a walk in the park.

To Ms. Aselbekian: Would you be satisfied to see a “sanitary engineer” leading a committee to search for and recommend a teacher or better yet, how about a school superintendant ? What makes you so special that your expertise would even remotely suggest that you know what to look for in a Chief of Police. I suspect the only experience you may have had with law enforcement is a traffic ticket. I don’t want to sound mean spirited, but when the minutes from “your committee’s” Executive session are released, I suspect it will be clear that not all candidates were given the same fair shot – as Jane Moran. That my friends is a big problem.
Have a professional find your next Chief.

Need Answers
13 years ago

As someone who has been involved in the town’s policital process for many, many years, I have been following this mess from a distance without saying anything. I cannot remain silent any longer.

Let me start by saying I am a supporter of Chief Moran. I think she has proven herself a leader and should be our town’s next chief. The Selectmen have done a tremendous disservice to Chief Moran, by not making the committee process transparent. If they had, I am sure Chief Moran would have been given high marks by the expert. Now, her fate and the fate of all the others is left to speculation and distrust. The handling of this matter has been nothing short of atrocious.

We need to hear from the Selectmen on a number of issues. The questions are not difficult. The Selectman’s responses will be helpful moving forward. Off the top of my head and in no specific order:

Do they support the committee’s decision not to use the expert?

If Yes, what are the grounds for them supporting this decision after the only committee member with any experience resigned?

If they support the committee, why didn’t they (the Selectmen) think it important to use the expert?

If they didn’t support the committee on this issue, why didn’t they take steps to make sure the committee used the expert?

Why did they hire an expert at all if they did not care if the committee used the expert?

Did they take any steps at all after the 9/15 meeting noted in Mr. Rooney’s letter to involve the expert?

If No, why not?

What does the expert say his past experience has been working with towns?

When the expert has been hired in the past, has he reviewed all of the applications and been involved in the interview process?

If Yes, why didn’t we involve him in our town’s process?

Did the expert actually take part in interviewing all of the people who were interviewed? If not, why not?

Did the expert review all of the applications that were sent into the town? If not, why not?

What response did the Selectmen give when Desiree objected to involving the expert?

What did the other committee members say about using the expert?

Did each committee member all agree with Desiree and disagree with Mr. Rooney?

If they did all agree, what were are their reasons?

Did the Selectmen actually talk with all of the committee members who Desiree said supported her position?

Was that 9/15 meeting noted by Mr. Rooney recorded in open session and will it be broadcast on television?

What did the Board think when Desiree continued to refer to the committee as “her committee?” Were they ever concerned about this?

Do they support Desiree’s statement that Mr. Rooney’s resignation was a “non-isssue.”

If they do support it, please explain it.

Will they release all of the minutes of the numerous executive sessions?

If not, why not?

I am sure there are many more questions that people have that I can’t think of right now. I’m also certain that a number of lawsuits will result regardless of who becomes chief. The town and each member of the committee will likely be sued and it will be interesting to see what they all say under oath.

As noted in comments above, the only way to avoid this is to begin again. While it may delay the appointment of a new chief for a few months, the delay is nothing compared to what will happen if they choose to continue to move forward. Fairness to everyone involved, and specifically Chief Moran, demand a process that is open and complete. The process to date has been anything but that.

13 years ago

At this point, who in their right mind would even want to be the Chief of Police in a town so tangled in politics. The only thing transparent in the search for a police chief, is the small town politics that played a part throughout the entire process. It is a shamed and a disservice to all citizens of the Soutborough. It amazes me that, in a Police Chief Search Committee, there isn’t one person with Police experience. Perhaps a former or current Chief or Police officer would have been a good idea. It just goes to show how tainted this process truly was.
Its unfortunate, because there were many well qualified candidates who didn’t apply for the position due to the very evident “behind the scenes” stuff that was going on. To advance someone as a finalist because they were acting Chief, is not a good reason. This search and process have been flawed from the start. Good luck with your less-than-honest search for a police chief. You will get what you deserve Southborough.

Pam T
13 years ago


I disagree with your comment “less-than-honest” to describe the search.
I STRONGLY disagree with the leadership (?) of the selectmen on this issue. There may be more to their decision making (I hope!!!) than we know, but I don’t see anything that indicates it was less-than-honest. Really stupid, as my teenager would say.

Again, Mr Rooney’s resignation is very troubling. PLK also makes an excellent point – why wasn’t there someone with police experience? I have not attended any of these meetings, but one of my neighbors did attend and she said that a resident with police experience did apply for the committee but was not selected. Now that is very odd.

Again, let’s hope the selectmen read these comments and try to rectify a very bad situation. I think its fair to say they have lost the confidence of a good percentage of the town.

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