Monday, December 19, 2011

Chief Conlon Pushes Retirement To Feb.

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti said it is very likely that she will name an interim chief after current chief William Conlon retires—a step she will take once Conlon leaves office, which was expected at the end of this month, but has been postponed until February.
“Right now what I want to do is maintain consistency and I will more than likely put someone in as an interim acting chief,” Balzotti said.
In June, Conlon announced he would retire at the end of the year, however, Conlon said he has extended his retirement to about the middle of February.
Conlon’s contract ends April 30, 2012, and he can stay until then, although he said he doubts he will stay longer than about mid-February when he plans to take a couple weeks vacation before heading into the next phase of his life.
“When I take my vacation I’ll be done,” Conlon said in a telephone interview Friday. (Conlon pictured above during Memorial Day Parade)
Conlon said he does not plan to stay until the April 30th end of his contract and is waiting until the middle of February to retire because the weather at the end of December and through January doesn’t offer a lot of activities for someone just embarking on the end of a career.
“I figured I’d wait until the middle, or end of February, but it looks like the middle of February,” Conlon said.
He said he doesn’t expect to extend his extension to April 30.
Until Conlon officially submits his retirement in writing, Personnel Director Maureen Cruise said Mayor Balzotti can’t take any action to fill his shoes.
“He hasn’t given the mayor a retirement date and until he does the mayor can’t take any action because there is a contract in place,” Cruise said.
Cruise said Balzotti also must wait to make any appointment, police chief or otherwise, until her re-inauguration Monday, Jan. 2 because city ordinance prevents the mayor from making any appointments during the 90 days leading to the end of a term—even if reelected.
Balzotti said Conlon’s retirement extension isn’t a problem because she plans to take her time with a permanent replacement and expects to name a temporary department head.
“There’s nothing that says the minute the chief steps down I have to name a successor,” Balzotti said.
Because the city voted to move the police chief’s position out of Civil Service about 10 years ago, the mayor is responsible for Conlon’s replacement.
According to Cruise, Balzotti does not have to have a wide search, publicly advertise the position or form a search committee--as some have called for.
Conlon said it is Balzotti’s appointment to make and although he has extended his retirement more than a month, there is nothing stopping Balzotti from moving toward filling his position.
Conlon said he believes it is important for Balzotti to choose a new chief who is willing to work with a host of local, state and federal organizations, not only law enforcement types like the State Police, Drug Enforcement Agency, DA’s Office, and FBI, but also local groups like the Rotary Club, school officials, parent organizations and the media.
“The position really needs someone who is willing to cooperate with numerous committees, organizations and groups,” Conlon said.
Balzotti echoed Conlon’s words, noting she is in agreement that the next chief must be someone who can continue the cooperation between Brockton’s Police Department and other law enforcement agencies operating in the city.
“We can’t afford to have an individual who can’t or won’t—because there are those who won’t—work with those other agencies,” Balzotti said.
She also said the next chief has to be someone she is comfortable having in the job and who she is comfortable working with, who she is certain can run day-to-day operations, communicate with other city departments and the public.
Although there is not a specific process of accepting resumes and applications, Balzotti said through her tenure as a public official she has a good grasp on who might be interested in the acting or permanent chief’s position, and those who may not want any part of being temporary or permanent chief.

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