Interview police sergeant candidates
By Becky Harvey
DUDLEY - The Dudley Selectmen held a special “workshop” meeting on Monday night. This is only the second such “workshop.” They are similar to regular meetings, but a “little less formal,” though they still adhere to Robert’s Rules.
The workshop agenda included discussion of the special ballot questions regarding the wording for the debt exclusion requested for funds to buy a new ladder truck for the fire department and the override that will fund many municipal departments and the school department with their budget deficits.
The selectmen unanimously voted that the wording for the debt exclusion ballot question will be:
“Shall the Town of Dudley be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to purchase a ladder truck for the fire department?”
They also voted unanimously, in an effort to offer the most explanation for the request and for the most “transparency,” to phrase the override question as follows:
“Shall the Town of Dudley be allowed to assess an additional $500,000.00 in real and personal property taxes for the purpose of funding the following departmental expenses: Police Department ($31,000), Fire Department ($34,000), Highway Department ($35,000), Treasurer ($32,000), Veterans Services ($28,000), Vocational Education ($45,000), Buildings & Grounds ($10,000), Library ($10,000), Municipal Services ($15,000), Town Clerk ($5,000), Finance Appropriation Advisory Committee ($5,000), and the Dudley Charlton Regional School District ($250,000), for the fiscal year beginning July first, two thousand and twelve?
Selectman Paul Joseph raised concerns about what the effects of the questions will be to the average –tax-payer, should the questions pass. The town treasurer prepared a report that showed the very minor increases that would occur with each change. If neither were to pass, the average tax payer would pay about $2,351.56 or $11.23 per thousand in fiscal year 2013. The debt exclusion would not be a factor until 2014 because the ladder truck would need to be ordered and made, which would not be done until sometime in that year, therefore no payments by the town would be needed in 2013. If the override passes, the 2013 bills would be affected. The average bill would go up by $125.64 or $10.47 per month. (That represents an increase to $11.83 per thousand.) If, in 2014, the override had failed, but the exclusion for the ladder truck went through, citizens would pay $2,374.60. This represent an increase of only $23.04 over the entire year, or an $.11 increase in the per thousand cost per month. The increase is so small due to other debt exclusions that are expiring, namely the library debt exclusion. If both the override and the debt exclusion for the ladder truck were to pass, the new rate would rise to $2500.24, an increase of $148.68 for fiscal year 2014. This is representative of just $.71 per thousand. Once these numbers were produced and explained, Joseph felt the town would be more prepared to make an informed decision and not be scared by the possibility of these two items passing.
The rest of the meeting was dedicated to giving the three officers up for the sergeant’s position an opportunity to introduce themselves and the selectmen. There was only one controversial issue regarding this process. Selectmen Joseph stated that he wanted to go on record that he was offended by the language used by the attorney, Scott Dunlap, who represents the Dudley Police Association, in his letter to town administrator Peter Jankowski. In it, Dunlap states that the interview process that was taking place at this selectmen’s workshop constituted a “quasi judicial proceeding.” He was worried that as such, the officers had a right to view “evidence” that was to be considered. Joseph was noticeably upset by the terminology used. He went on-record to say that the interview was not a legal proceeding of any kind, quasijudicial or not. Having gotten that statement out, the process began.
Though the three candidates, Officer Chandler Boyd II, Officer James Hutchinson and Officer Marek Karlowicz, had already been through an official interview panel with the chief of police and three other chiefs from local townships, the process would not be complete until the selectmen had had a chance to meet and question them. Chairman Jonathan Ruda, said that this was more or less being done so the townspeople could get a chance to get to know the officers a little bit better. Each selectman was given the opportunity to ask a number of questions of each candidate. The entire process will be broadcast and posted on the Dudley town website. The selectmen invite all citizens to view the broadcast and see the officers who are up for the promotion.