It was a show of overwhelming support for Interim Chief Jane Moran last night after interviews for Southborough’s new police chief wrapped up, with most of the support coming from her own department.
A number of Southborough police officers showed up and spoke on Moran’s behalf during the public comment period that came after selectmen finished interviewing the four finalists.
The officers commended Moran’s leadership after the death of Police Chief William Webber, which many acknowledged was a difficult time for the department. “She has been our rock. She has been our leader,” Sgt. Sean James said.
Others praised her sense of fairness. “Jane Moran has the compassion, the heart, and the guts to do this job,” Rick Mattioli, who has been with the Southborough Police Department for 33 years, said.
Support came from outside the department, too. John Bartolini Jr. told selectmen he grew up in the same neighborhood in Southborough as Moran. “It’s a great comfort for people to know their police chief,” he said. “It makes a big difference.”
Selectmen interviewed the four finalists for 30 minutes each, asking them the same set of questions. Their questions centered on management approaches, budgetary challenges, recruiting and hiring staff, leadership qualities, and more. Each candidate was also given the opportunity to make an opening and closing statement.
In addition to Moran, the finalists were Holden Lt. David Armstrong, Westfield Lt. Hipolito Nunez and Framingham Lt. Paul Shastany. Chairman Sal Giorlandino thanked all the finalists for participating, calling them “a group of talented people.”
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might have expected some questions from the public about the process used to select the finalists, but you would have been disappointed. Only one resident brought it up, asking selectmen to explain their reasoning behind the approach, particularly the decision to make Moran an automatic finalist.
Selectman Bill Boland said anyone from the department who applied and met the job qualifications would have been automatically put forward as a finalist — not just Moran — but Moran was the only one from the department to apply. He said Moran was evaluated the same way other candidates were. “At no time has there been anything in this process that hasn’t been fair,” he said.
Boland also said there were good reasons why the search committee reviewed candidates during executive sessions which are closed to the public, a decision that some of you have questioned. He said one reason was to protect candidates who might not have informed their current employers that they were applying for the position.
All three selectmen expressed disappointment at the “misinformation” they said has been spread about the process. Giorlandino encouraged those who have concerns about the way the search took place to step forward and make them known to selectmen. “Don’t hide behind a blog,” he said.
Selectmen will make their decision tomorrow night at 7:00 pm in the Town House Hearing Room (second floor). The meeting is open to all.