Acting Chicopee Police Chief Files Suit Over Position
CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) — The ongoing police chief saga in Chicopee is taking a new twist.
Acting Chief Tom Charette filed a suit this week for a preliminary injunction against the city.
It all comes as the process to choose a permanent police chief plays out.
It’s the issue that won’t go away: who will be Police Chief in Chicopee?
“We are going to work with the court system to make sure it is done appropriately,” says Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos.
The state’s Civil Service Board ruled in March that Charette had to vacate his position July 1, instead becoming acting Chief while a brand new Chief selection started all over again.
Former Mayor Mike Bissonnette was accused of being politically biased against Deputy Chief Bill Jebb during the selection process, despite the fact that he scored higher on exams than Charette.
Charette’s lawyer says as the fight for the permanent job begins again under new Mayor Richard Kos, Jebb should be eliminated from contention because he has not lived in Chicopee these past two years, and thereby would violate city charter.
“This argument brought at the 11th hour. I question the motivations,” adds Attorney Thomas Kenefick, who is representing Jebb.
While a Superior Court judge reviews the issue, Kenefick says Charette is reading city law the wrong way, adding that Jebb lived in the city most of his life.
Kenefick explains, “There’s nothing in that charter that says there is any approximate or temporal limit that says two years prior or five years prior, unlike some other ordinances might say.”
Mayor Kos agreed to not appoint a Chief until the courts make a ruling on the residency requirements. “We will continue the process and we will start scheduling interviews in anticipating a decision taking place, but until then, we will hold off making any kind of permanent appointment,” he adds.
Kos says despite the ongoing Chief saga, the city will follow the law to find the right person for the job.
The state is recertifying the original civil service exams, allowing current captains in the department to be eligible.