Police Chief Search Update

The Select Board approved next steps they hope end with their promotion of a new chief in September

Today, the Select Board voted to hire consultants to run a specialized assessment center for the candidates for Southborough’s new police chief.

Town Administrator Mark Purple expects the center to be completed by mid-August. The Board would then interview the internal candidates and make a decision by the first week of September. Hopefully, negotiating a final contract could be completed within a couple of weeks.

The hiring of the consultant was on the Board’s agenda last week, but postponed without clear explanation. It turns out that was based on a prior request the Board had made that hadn’t been fulfilled.

In a June discussion of the process for selecting a firm, members told Purple that they wanted feedback from community members with public safety experience.

This morning, Purple assured the Board that he vetted the decision and the planned approach with residents Brennan Barry and Peter Goodney. Both are law enforcement professionals* who previously served on the Public Safety Building Committee.

A memo from Purple specifies that Barry and Goodney, along with Southborough Fire Chief, Stephen Achilles, will work with the TA’s office to “design the scenarios in the exercises and review other pertinent details.”

Other than incorporating Barry and Goodney’s input, the memo mimicked a version Assistant Town Administrator Vanessa Hale issued on July 12th. In it, she explained that she had solicited:

three quotes from a variety of municipal consultants. The inquiry requested a price for the following:

  1. Conduct an interview of internal candidates with a panel that represents both public safety and HR/Management experts;
  2. Issue and review a writing assignment;
  3. Determine, through situational questions/scenarios, if the candidate(s) has the knowledge, skills and ability necessary and is ready to serve as the next Chief;
  4. Provide written feedback on candidates for the Town Administrator & Select Board. 

Community Paradigm was selected based on its $6,500 quote. The consultant, Bernie Lynch is a former Lowell City Manager and Chelmsford Town Manager. His response included:

All the exercises will be developed by public safety (including law enforcement) and HRprofessionals with input from the Town. We will be looking at job requirements (Job description), department policies, industry standards and real issues the Town wants addressed. At the
conclusion a written feedback report will be provided for review.”

The consulting cost will be charged to this year’s police budget.

*Updated (7/22/21 2:38 pm) I looked up a little more background on the two “law enforcement” officials that Purple sought feedback up. Mr. Barry is a firefighter for Waltham with a degree in criminal justice. Mr. Goodney is a retired Sgt from the Westborough PD.

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