Normally, this would be a great day...one of our own police officers named as provisional chief and then possibly promoted to Police Chief.
Unfortunately, this announcement and the decision at the May 26th town board meeting that the application deadline was being extended for one additional week both have an odor to them. It actually really didn't dawn on us what was happening until we read some comments on the Observer Dispatch article the day after the town board meeting. We blogged about it a couple of weeks ago.
What makes this announcement troublesome is the fact that Sgt. Inserra did not submit an application until after the deadline for submission of an application had expired. Certainly Sgt. Inserra had plenty of time to make his decision; former Police Chief Philo made known his intentions to retire long before the official announcement that the town board was starting the search for Philo's replacement and long before the deadline for submitting applications. So what reason could there possibly be for Sgt. Inserra to wait until after the deadline and until after three (3) other candidates were interviewed before making his interests known. More troubling is that the town board voted to extend the deadline AFTER interviewing Inserra and BEFORE he even submitted an "official" application.
According to the article:
Tyksinski said the full board met with Inserra in an executive session prior to the May 26 meeting, because they had heard he was interested.They heard he was interested? Heard from whom? If he was so interested and if he thought he was the best man for the job, why didn't he bother to submit his application like everyone else did? Shouldn't someone who wants to be a police chief be confident enough and organized enough to submit his application on time? What prevented him from doing that?
The article goes on to say:
Asked if the board had reopened the search just for Inserra, Tyksinski said no.Sorry, but that is just not a very believable statement Pat. One week added for other applications? The town received eight applications that were approved by Oneida County's Personnel Department according to a May 20, 2010 article, Three interviewed for NH police chief; only three of the eight were interviewed. A couple of the people supposedly withdrew their application; did the town board interview any of the remaining candidates that were approved by Oneida County after the deadline was extended or was Sgt. Inserra the only one that was interviewed? If the town board merely wanted to expand the search, shouldn't at least one (1) of the other approved applicants who got their application in on time get a chance to interview as well? Sorry, it would appear that the search was opened up to interview one (1) more who was hand-selected by someone.
“As far as I’m concerned I wanted to reopen the search anyway, because at that point we only had three viable candidates,” he said. “I didn’t think it was appropriate for us to make a determination with just that.”
According to the article:
“Right now, on my own, knowing what I do of Mike and looking at all our other applicants, I would have no problem supporting Mike as our police chief,” Tyksinski said.The article also says:
Tyksinski also said he had not gotten to know Inserra until he became town supervisor in January.If that is the case, just how well do you know him...6 months worth? We're not buying it.
Councilman Reynolds was quoted as saying:
Town Board member David Reynolds said he supported Inserra “100 percent.”Gee Dave, we feel better with your endorsement..who created those financial constraints?
“I think he can hit the ground running,” he said. “He is a strong, capable police leader and I think he has a clear understanding of the financial constraints the town is facing.”
The article continues:
Inserra has been with the New Hartford Police Department for 22 years, and he grew up in New Hartford.Actually, those would be the exact same reasons why perhaps Sgt. Inserra shouldn't be considered. Do we really want someone who writes the same policies and procedures that Philo did and who is chummy with "the boys"? When FOILed for any complaints against the Police Department and for any emails or other correspondence from the former Police Commissioners, the reply was there are none.
“He knows the town and the community and the Police Department,” Tyksinski said. “He has a lot of experience with regard to writing procedures and policies for our department, he knows all the guys.”
Interesting because as a result of FOILing all of Dave Reynold's emails, we just happen to have an email from Steve Zogby who was in the process of putting together a quote for town insurance back in May 2008. He mentions that he needs more information on two (2) of the claims for law enforcement liability...Tretter and Warmack. We know there have been other claims. For one, Ms. Alessi filed a complaint where she even mentions Sgt. Inserra by name. But the good ol' boys protect each other...the fox guarding the henhouse syndrome.
It would appear that this is a done deal...the timing of the announcement in the paper suggests that Supervisor Tyksinski has a majority vote on the town board; otherwise, he would have held off making a statement. The real story behind this decision [and we do believe there is more to the story] will probably never be known.
The police department is one of the largest expenses of the town budget and Sgt. Inserra was one of the officers receiving beau coup overtime. Since he didn't have the tenacity to put his application in from the get-go, will he be able to rein in a runaway department or will someone else be pulling his strings?
We'd love to hear your comments.