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Selectmen Discuss Appointing Interim Police Chief

Selectmen Chairman William Buckley suggested to his colleagues on April 22 that they begin to develop a process to appoint an interim police chief to serve from July 1 until a successor to Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin is appointed. Rather than discussing a process, however, the two other selectmen each had a candidate to recommend.

Selectman William Kingkade advocated naming retired Sergeant Michael Pighetti to the role, noting he had served as interim chief in the 2001-2002 timeframe. "He is highly qualified and able to serve," Kingkade said. "He is a known entity to the entire board and to the town."

Selectman Michael Walsh wanted to name Deputy Chief James Falvey to the position, noting that the town should be looking at elevating people already in the chain of command. Walsh cited the example of the School Committee's promotion of Assistant School Superintendent Kevin McIntyre when Superintendent Robert Tremblay left. "We should elevate the interim

police chief to be the police chief," Walsh said.

In addition, Walsh cited a Massachusetts regulation which he

claimed would prevent Pighetti from being named to the interim chief 's position unless he first attended police academy training. Kingkade asked that Town Counsel Charles Boddy review Walsh's information.

"There are a lot of benefits having someone that's known to

us," Chairman William Buckley said. "You both have very solid positions," he told Kingkade and Walsh. "It looks like I'm going to have to either break that tie or vet this process a little bit further."

The chairman asked Boddy – who was in the audience to discuss a collective bargaining issue later in the meeting – whether the board could impose any restrictions preventing the interim chief from applying for the permanent chief 's position. Boddy replied that selectmen could tell anyone interested in becoming the interim chief that they could not apply to be the permanent chief. However, he added, once the interim chief is appointed, that person could then apply to be permanent chief.

Because he was unfamiliar with the state regulation Walsh mentioned, he would have to research it to see if it applies to Pighetti, Boddy added.

"I don't want to let this linger," Buckley noted about the interim chief 's appointment. "And I don't want this to be the opportunity for Facebook to backlash on either the existing deputy chief or the former interim chief."

The interim police chief would take over management of the Police Department on July 1. O'Loughlin's contract, which expires on June 30, was not renewed.




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