Southborough Police will add a lieutenant to its ranks

For several months, Police Chief Jane Moran has lobbied to add a police lieutenant to the ranks of the Southborough Police Department. At a meeting last month selectmen gave their approval.

Moran said she will fill the position by promoting one of Southborough’s three sergeants. A patrolman will then be promoted to fill the vacated sergeant’s position. Moran told selectmen the promotions will mean about an extra $5K in salaries, which she said is already in her budget.

Moran said the department has been talking about creating a lieutenant position for about ten years now. “Upon taking on the chief position, it became clear right away that this is an appropriate step to take,” she said.

At a meeting back in the spring, Moran told selectmen a lieutenant would take on administrative, management, and personnel duties, as well as go out on patrol.

“I have some experience having grown up with a father who was a police chief,” Selectman John Rooney said. “I really believe there is necessity to have this position between the chief and the officers.”

At a meeting last week, selectmen approved the use of an assessment center to help evaluate candidates for the lieutenant position. The assessment center will cost $4800.

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Deja Vu
12 years ago

Another $4800 assessment center ? Results we will never see as was the case with the Chief’s hiring process ? An to Mr. Rooney. I can’t agree with you on this one. Its a waste of money and the taxpayers will end up tightening their belts even just a little more. Your Dad served in a city many times bigger than Southboro and there was a need for additional ranks between the Chief and patrolman. In this case, where Southborough is a relatively small town, the supervision has historically been performed by a Sergeant; the “buffer” between the Chief and the Patrolman and it has worked well.
Does anybody in the governmental unit see how many homes are for sale in Southboro and how much the prices have plummeted ? How about the unemployment stats that I frequently see posted ?
Decisions such as this make it hard for people to afford living in Southboro. Sooner or later the well will dry up.

Neil Rossen
12 years ago

Could not agree more. Rooney has turned out to be a major disappointment. We know the BOS we had before, and his election has only exacerbated the problem. What is the crime rate here? Why do we need a buffer between the chief and officers in a tiny police force?

Beats me, and will beat most taxpayers.

Pat McGroyne
12 years ago
Reply to  Neil Rossen

Huh? Didnt Rooney just get elected like 2 weeks ago? And he’s already a major disappointment? Wow!

rjp
12 years ago
Reply to  Neil Rossen

Neil,

I agree with no need for a Lt, but I DO disagree with your post.

Your posts are ALWAYS critical of others and never offer positive suggestions. When was the last time you attended a board of selectmen meeting? Have you tried to speak with any of the three slectmen to express your view?

Its easy to sit on the sidelines and throw rocks. There are plenty of town committees with vacancies. How about stepping up and volunteering so you can have a say in fixing all that you find wrong.

rjp

ps: why do I not identify myself? i don’t want to start a war with my “neighbor” over this issue. It just irritates me to hear the continued whining from the same folks who love to complain but haven’t tried to fix the issues.

Active Participant
12 years ago
Reply to  rjp

EXACTLY rjp! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

And Neil, attending one BOS meeting is not participating. Sticking around long enough to effect some kind of positive change IS. If you or anyone else are not willing to take the time to do that, it is your opinion that fails to warrant serious consideration, not anonymous posters on this blog. Many of us stand up at recorded public meetings, identify ourselves by both our names and addresses AND serve consistently, many weekly or even daily, in an effort to make our town better. We don’t just get up once a year at Town Meeting or post to this blog when we have something to complain about, continually making the claim that things can be done better but never actually trying to make that happen. It is easy to criticize a process from the sidelines, far harder when you are actually in the game.

I suspect this is something Mr. Rooney is finding out for himself right about now.

Al Hamilton
12 years ago
Reply to  rjp

Neil participates in town government every time he pays his property taxes, pays his excise taxes, pays his state taxes, and pays his sales taxes, pays his fees etc. This participation is under-appreciated and often taken for granted by the powers that be.

The idea that only those who formally participate in government should have the right to comment on an and criticize government is very dangerous.

sam
12 years ago

i agree with Deja Vu the southborough police have been fine without a LT for years and am sure there are fine now and why do they decide to pull this scam out now? Not much ever happens in southborough any ways.

Harold Raez
12 years ago

The late Chief Weber was the one who first put the Lieutenant position forward and believed it was essential for the operation of the department. I attended the bos meeting on this issue. All three members were unanimously in favor of the Lieutenant position. I heard the personnel board was also in favor of the position. I assume that the critisicm extends to the late Chief, the entire bos and the entire personnel board. Don’t lose site of the fact that there could be a very real likelihood that all three members of the bos may have based their decision on facts that the rest of us do not know about the current operation of the department. Perhaps if there was this concern about the lack of need for a Lieutenant position, those concerns could have been raised and addressed at the meeting. Our government works best when there is varied input; it is not helpful to offer sour grapes after decisions are made, especially when we are all given an opportunity to attend and be part of the process.

Looking at towns similar to ours, the vast majority have Lieutenant’s regardless of the crime rate or size of the department. The fire department has a number of Lieutenant’s. Anyone who has any experience working in an organization such as a police department or fire department understands the need to have more than one management style. This is even more important if there are any questions about the management ability of the person in charge. Those not in favor of the Lieutenant position may be losing sight of the fact that it is costing us less than 5K and in return we will be getting an experienced officer who will add additional or better management experience than the status quo.

It is easy, as rjp states, to relax in the comfort of one’s home and be critical of others. It takes effort to attend and guts to speak out at these meetings. Not only are we allowed to participate, but by doing so we can have a say in the decision. Thereafter, we can also be critical of the result. To not participate and then complain, will never help reach the best objective.

Al Hamilton
12 years ago
Reply to  Harold Raez

I don’t have a dog in this fight one way or the other however, I think there are some items to be considered.

1. After this change is implemented the same set of people will be in place but 2 of them will have new titles 1 Lieutenant and 1 patrolman that will be promoted to Sargent. So the idea that we will be getting new expertise is questionable at best.

2. I suspect that the real costs of this change will be greater than $5k. When make these calculations the town only looks at the direct budget impacts. We never calculate benefits or retirement costs. (I believe police officers can retire at 55)

3. I believe the net effect of this change will be to reduce the number of line officers (Patrolmen and Sargents) by 1. I assume these are the folks who actually deliver most of the police services in town and so we are either going to get less services or pay more in terms of overtime unless the new Lieutenant can offset the change with improved police productivity. I hope the latter is the case.

4. My understanding is that the Sargents have very limited managerial rights. They belong to their own union and cannot discipline a patrolman. The have far less formal authority than a Sargent in the military. The Lieutenant in effect serves as the COO for the police department.

I have never heard a compelling case for why this move would make our community safer or help us reduce the overall cost of police services. It may be a good thing to do if it helps us end some of the wasteful practices that happen in the police dept.

Kudos
12 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

Well said Mr. Hamilton. You pretty much covered the whole concept of why this is a bad idea. Thank you. On a side note, Chief Webber was one of the best Chief’s Southboro has seen in many years. His actions were well thought out before he went forward to the BOS for approval and I never heard much of any contraversy as a result of his wishes. However, ten years ago we were not in a recession/depression (pick one because if your unemployed and have a mortgage, kids, college, taxes….its a depression) I’d bet Chief Webber wouldn’t even consider asking for a Lieutenant at this time when the economy is so uncertain.

Pat Quill
12 years ago
Reply to  Harold Raez

well said Harold R.

Neil Rossen
12 years ago

It is difficult to take anonymous posters seriously.

The idea that taxpayers cannot comment without participating on a committee is simply absurd.I attended a BOS meeting around budget time. I was disappointed then and am now.

Neil Rossen
12 years ago

I thought this thread was about whether or not there should have been a police lieutenant appointed. Now I am being assailed for having a negative opinion, and not being sufficiently involved in the town to affect change. Does not being so involved remove the right to an opinion? Am I on the wrong board, or do certain posters have an alternative agenda? Can posters please restrict their comments to the topic at hand. DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE APPOINTMENT?

Donna McDaniel
12 years ago

Just a note to remind people that the BOS meetings are televised on Ch. 13 several times after a meeting, as are the school committee meetings. So it’s possible to keep an ear and eye on the proceedings without actually attending (though it seems a good idea to drop by once in a while). I watch/listen frequently while I’m doing routine things on my computer. I guess that’s called.
Last time I checked the BOS was on twice a day on Friday through Sunday and Tuesday and Wednesday and once on Thursday. Times vary too.. with one in a.m. and one later in the day.

Pat Quill
12 years ago

Easy way out, Neil. I think it is great when people put their
name on their post, but not everyone is comfortable enough doing so. It doesn’t
matter. What matters is that they are taking the time to comment on a topic. Just because
someone, for whatever reason, prefers to post as anonymous is not reason enough to
dismiss their viewpoint.

Posters are not saying you shouldn’t comment without participating on a committee,
they are saying ….enough with the negative comments that lead nowhere (i.e. calling people a “major dissappointment” only months into their BOS term). It it would be SO EASY for any
one of us to be critical of committee’s and their decisions. The real challenge
is to actually come up with real suggestions/solutions ….and that is whether you attend meetings or not.

I have posted similar thoughts to you on another thread but it seems to fall on deaf ears.
ANYONE can find the negative….that’s the easy part. Believe me, with these difficult
times all around us (locally and globally) that is a piece of cake. Personally, I find
it difficult to take you seriously because all you choose to do is complain and throw
people under the bus. You rarely (never, actually) have anything constructive to contribute.
That is what people find frustrating.

southsider
12 years ago

Let’s gat back on point.
I find Mr Hamilton’s points about ( probable ) future hidden costs and the idea that we’d actually be removing a line officer from the line to be two very compelling arguments in favor of maintaining the status quo… I’m for continued street patrols vs some potentially better administration within the department.

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