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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Atkinson may see changes in police department

From the Eagle Tribune;

May 26, 2011
Atkinson may see changes in police department
By Cara Hogan

ATKINSON — There will be a "change in personnel" in the police department, Town Manager Philip Smith said.

But what that means is anyone's guess at this point — anyone other than the selectmen and Smith, that is.

Selectmen's Chairman William Bennett postponed making an announcement Monday about the future of the department, saying the board is consulting first with the town attorney.

He refused to comment about any potential changes to the department.

Police Chief Philip Consentino is frustrated. He's frustrated by what changes might be under consideration that he's not privy to and frustrated by selectmen's lack of response to his request to replace departing Lt. William Baldwin.

"I have a job to run the police department and I'm getting roadblocks set up on absolutely everything," Consentino said. "I do not know the reason why."

The part-time chief has been on the job for more than 40 years. He has a history of butting heads with selectmen and he's a lightning rod for criticism from some residents.

But Consentino has his supporters, too, and some of them interviewed yesterday bristled at the notion the selectmen may be planning big changes.

Over lunch at Eggie's yesterday, resident Theresa McNally said Consentino has done a "great job" over the years.

"When you have a good thing, leave it alone," she said. "If the selectmen are trying to get rid of him, I'd be angry."

Consentino said he thinks selectmen are trying to interfere with the department. He said he asked Bennett why selectmen are so involved in the day-to-day operations of the police department.

"He told me they don't want to see me create a fiefdom, a kingdom," he said. "I said, 'You people are afraid the police department and elderly affairs is running so well, you're afraid I'm creating a kingdom and you're doing everything you can to break it up.'"

Consentino said he's heard the selectmen are considering making a big change to the department, not just hiring a new officer.

"I don't know what change they could make," he said. "They can't create a police commissioner to take over the fire department and police department because voters have to approve that at the annual Town Meeting."

Bennett and Selectman William Friel have been tight-lipped about any changes.

"At this point in time, the Board of Selectmen have not made any decision regarding the police department," Friel said yesterday.

But the third board member, Selectman Fred Childs, denied there will be any changes.

"There are no plans to fire Consentino or hire someone who would be above him," he said. "He's asked to hire a lieutenant, but we don't want to hire someone just now. We want to see what he really needs."

Smith, the town manager, said Consentino has asked to hire a new officer.

"(Consentino's) given them a few ideas and they're digesting it," Smith said. "This is an opportunity to make changes, if they're deemed the best route for the town of Atkinson."

Consentino sees the delay as something new.

"In the past, when we had an officer retire or leave, all we did was place an ad in the paper and hire another officer," he said. "For some reason, it seems like we're not going to replace Baldwin and I cannot operate with only four full-time officers. I should have seven full-time officers."

The entire process should take about three months, he said, once they find the right candidate.

"We need to hire a new officer soon, that's it," he said.

Smith said an announcement was likely to come at the selectmen's meeting Monday.

• • •


Anonymous said...

"He told me they don't want to see me create a fiefdom, a kingdom," he said. "I said, 'You people are afraid the police department and elderly affairs is running so well, you're afraid I'm creating a kingdom and you're doing everything you can to break it up.'"


Anonymous said...

We do not need 7 officers for 7000 people when they are only around less than a 1/3 of the week. (overkill, waste of money).

We certainly do not need ANY officers who are untrained and can't carry a gun (huge liability).

We do not need anyone who doles out town paid services to some and denies others. (abuse of power)

When the day comes that this scam is over, it will be a very happy day for lots of people. (the sooner the better)

Anonymous said...

Neither dept is running very well if you can't get service.

Anonymous said...

It appeared to me the department or at least the officers are doing their job. The other day I drove by one of APD's finest and it appeared he had just stopped one of Atkinson finest Selectmen. Take a guess maroon cadi? Hmm I wonder if that stop will make the log?

Anonymous said...

Why make any further problems for the town chief. Retire asap to save yourself and the town any more expense regarding courts,suits, and your own little dignity or whats left of it. Make the room to modernize the department[s] by retiring. that would allow what is mentioned here before it is to late for you and the town. If you do love the town you'll do it ... yesterday as it were.

Anonymous said...

I think he ought to stick around just a liitttle bit longer.


MAcciard said...

Unfortunately our police chief has cost the town hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and settlements during his tenure, he has cost this town more than any other single person.

As for the elderly affairs program, it could be so much more than it currently is, and it was SUPPOSED to be fully separated from the pd 4 years ago, by Order of the Attorney General's office. It wasn't.

As for those who vehemently defend him, you would have no idea what people who have ever been critical of him have had to endure at his hands, unless you have too have fell victim to his incessant bullying.

Atkinson deserves much better than an untrained, uneducated, police chief, serving without appointment, who routinely uses his police dept. authority, along with the taxpayer funds it provides to launch personal investigations of his critics. Simply being critical of an action of his can earn you the investigation of your business, calls to your customers and suppliers, having yourself followed through town by the chief personally AFTER he has verbally threatened you. And none of this takes into account what can be accomplished by his supporters who listen to his slanderous diatribes for months on end, only to vent their rage at his critics in severe vandalism, that of course will never be solved.

If the town had simply followed its own employee discipline policy, as printed in the town employee manual, he would have been fired six years ago.

The amazing thing is that his perfidities have been well documented for years, as has the BOS's continued dereliction of duty in putting a stop to it.

All of this including all of the lawsuits could have been avoided if the selectmen had done their jobs as each incident happened.

Anonymous said...

Dear men of the Board of Selectmen,

You are adrift without a paddle because it takes guts to stand up to people behind the curtain that are making your decisions for you,

If you stand up for what is right then you start to find your way. If you tell the truth you get clear headed. If you follow the law then you find your moral compass. If you refuse to support law breakers then you are piloting a battleship instead of a canoe without a paddle.

If you protect your decision making from known town bullies that have been ursurping the authority of the BOS for years, that's the challenge.

This is how it works. If you refuse to defend your own territory, as a man, you are lost. if you don't take control and defend your own territory you lose your authority, It takes balls to defend your own territory. You will be challenged. So fill every cell of your body with testosterone and be a man.

Anonymous said...

It only takes two selectmen to make Atkinson a new town free of tyranny. Our town is not safe with an unstable narcissist in control.

You have the power. We don't care if he sues the town. It would only bring to light all his crimes.

Do what is right.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe he'd win if he sued for losing his job. Not possible after all the antics and the lack of qualifications.

Anonymous said...

To Theresa McNally who supports a criminal enterprise. You get all kinds of free goodies from Phil from my tax dollars. Your gravy train ride is coming to an end very soon. No more police taxi service for U.

You ignore all the lawsuits and crimes so you can get your free rides. Your ignorance is only preceeded by your selfishness. I don't care how old you are. Or whose mother you are. You've been brainwashed by a conman for your vote and you can't see it.

You can't handle the truth.

Anonymous said...

Is the Conman delusional? Is he
suggesting the report will recommend
a new police station, more officers and
better pay? It could just as easily
recommend we buddy up with the
Plaistow PD and disband ours.
Where's all the crime in town anyway?

Must be one of those famous ET

Anonymous said...

May 27, 2011

Atkinson will have independent review of police department
By Cara Hogan The Eagle Tribune Fri May 27, 2011, 12:14 AM EDT

ATKINSON — Police Chief Philip Consentino said he welcomes an independent review of the management of his department.

Selectmen voted unanimously at a special meeting Wednesday to hire Municipal Resources Inc. to study the day-to-day management of the Atkinson Police Department over the next 90 to 100 days.

The town will pay $5,000 to MRI, which specializes in management reviews, candidate searches and studies of local municipalities.

"They will be looking overall at the police department, at management structure, staffing levels, equipment, capital planning," Selectmen's chairman William Bennett said. "That does not mean replacing the chief. But it means looking at how are we utilizing the manpower we've got."

Selectmen gave Consentino a letter yesterday morning, explaining their decision.

"I welcome this with open arms," Consentino said. "Once a group of professionals comes in and sees how we have to operate — understaffed and lacking in facilities — they'll understand. It's a shame for the town to have to go spend all this money, but if they're not happy with the way it's being run, go for it, see what happens."

Consentino said selectmen should have done a better job informing the public about the meeting. The notice for the special meeting was posted 24 hours in advance in Town Hall, as law requires, but no one other than the selectmen and town employees attended.

"Nobody seemed to know about this meeting. Why does every resident have to come to the Town Hall every day to check if something was posted?" he said. "If it involved a particular department head, wouldn't you think they'd at least call that department head and say, 'Hey, we're having a meeting?' I had no notification at all."

Bennett said the board was waiting for MRI's proposal. When they found out it would be ready, he said, they scheduled a meeting.

"It's not an emergency meeting, it was just moving things along expeditiously," he said. "We weren't doing things in the dark of the night."

The board hasn't signed the contract with MRI yet, but Bennett said they expect it to be finalized in the next week. For the 100 days the company is working, Consentino has to run the department short one officer.

Anonymous said...

It is definitely time for Consentino to retire. Selectman, do the job that we elected you to do! Fred Childs is afraid of Phil, but Bill Friel & B. Bennett have the power to do the right thing. We are all watching & waiting for you people to do the right thing. Get rid of the bully!!!

Anonymous said...

What's all the talk about firing Consentino?

He hasn't been elected or appointed for several years.

They could just not reappoint him, and that would solve a lot of this town's problems.

Anonymous said...

they can,t appoint him it against the law he never went to the academy that, makes him out. they going to put smith incharge thank god

Anonymous said...

To anon 3:45, that's all we need is smith running the department! It will be a great marionette show... well at least the selectmen will be able to speed through town and flash their illegal badges!!!

Anonymous said...

he'd be better than what we have.

Anonymous said...

That's true. What our police dept. has been for the last thirty years, is a political organization that focuses on getting out the Consentino vote against the Selectmen. Will be nice to put an end to that era, don't you think?


Anonymous said...

Trust me you don't want Smith, you should see what's in his closet. Come on Joyce, Mark, Tim, do your homework on him.

We need someone new, experienced and trusted. That doesn't = Smith. We don't need another Phil. Call Salem! Get the truth on this guy!

Anonymous said...

Everyone is posting anon here and you still have to go and try to assign postings to individuals? You are blaming the wrong person.

Why don't you call Salem and post what-ever-it-is-you-think-you-have-on-him? Why ask someone else to go and do you work for you? If you have something to say about Smith, say it.