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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Atkinson police chief position to remain part time

January 28, 2014

Selectmen reverse earlier decision

ATKINSON — The future of the police chief’s position has taken another turn. In a special meeting Saturday morning, selectmen reversed course and decided to keep the position part time.
“It’s our reaction to the feedback we’ve gotten from town,” Selectman Fred Thompson said.
In October, selectmen announced they would be making the position full time after recommendations from two consultants. But after resident Brian Boyle filed a citizen’s petition earlier this month to keep the job part time, Thompson said selectmen realized it’s what residents want.
“It was a strong likelihood that that article would have passed and directed us to keep it part time,” Thompson said. “We decided we’d rather make that change now, so we can prepare for the financial ramifications that decision would have had.”
Boyle said he was pleased selectmen have changed their minds.
“I’m encouraged to hear that the selectmen had a change of heart,” Boyle said. “It’s always the safest thing to let the voters decide on changes that have a big impact to the town.”
Town Administrator Bill Innes said making the position full time would have saved the town between $50,000 and $60,000 a year. Instead, they will now shift money around in the budget to account for a part-time chief.
“It needs to be funded properly,” Thompson said. “We don’t feel that number would account for what we need from the position.”
Three people have filled the position within the last year. In February, long-time chief Philip Consentino was terminated from the position for “cause.”
Sgt. Patrick Caggiano then filled the position on an interim basis. He announced in December he would retire from the department after the town chose to conduct an open search for the permanent chief.
Since Caggiano retired, Rockingham County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Al Brackett has served as interim chief. Brackett has said he is not interested in the permanent position.
The search for a full-time chief was already underway, but revamping the search will likely delay things.
“It could be anywhere from a month later to even two to three months,” Innes said.
Innes had hoped to have a new chief in place by the end of February.
The town had received 45 resumes and had handed them over to the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police earlier this month. But now, Thompson said, he is worried about the quality of the chief they will get for the position.
“One of my major concerns is that you’ll severely decrease the qualified candidates by making it part time,” Thompson said. “It makes it less likely that the chief will stay for a long time, creating a revolving door at that position for years to come.”
Innes said the town will proceed, despite his beliefs that the town still needs a full-time chief.
“The NHPCA and Chief Brackett both think we need a full-time chief,” Innes said. “Reports and studies say we need a full-time chief. We think there’s a need, but we don’t think the town residents as a whole are ready to make that transition and the selectmen take direction from residents.”
Innes said the part-time position will be 25 hours per week. The salary and benefits have yet to be determined.
“If we want a good chief, obviously we are going to have to pay for that,” Innes said.


Anonymous said...

It's ridiculous to say that it would cost less to have a FT position over a PT position. What he means is that they were going to eliminate hours elsewhere and regroup. If they are sincere they can go ahead and regroup regardless.

Anonymous said...

if they had not screwed caggino we would all be better off

Anonymous said...

what happened to innes plan to get the money from where ever we want and we'll do what we want. dont tell us whats goodfor you, stupid voter...

Anonymous said...

He wanted the job handed to him. There's nothing wrong with doing a search and reviewing all candidates.

Mark Acciard said...

The FACT is that they do NOt have written legal opinions as they claimed.

They TRIED to get this through in the budget WITHOUT going to the voters.

NOw that there is a petition warrant article they are withdrawing it rather than face the voters and try to justify the Ft position. THAT should tell you all you need to know

Anonymous said...

Mark, in true fashion of this town I don't believe the actions of the BOS. What is to prevent them from getting the petition article to fail at town meeting, and then going for the Full Time Chief? Can you see it now, Innes stating that the Selectmen reconsidered and believe there is a need for a full time Chief.

Anonymous said...

They went to the newspaper so if they try to interfere again, they will be exposing themselves as corrupt. Not that this seems to stop them. They are operating out of the public eye and not deliberating the issues on camera.