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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It Happened There, It Happened Here...Questionable Promotion

     Once again, ripped from the headlines, a story that hits home.  Every now and then a story appears in a newspaper, online, or other media source, that resembles a set of circumstances that has occurred here in Westfield.  Go to the following link to read story:

     This year the Westfield Police Department promoted a sergeant to the next highest rank, lieutenant, AFTER the list of potential candidates had expired.  From time to time, when there is an opening, the Westfield Police Department holds a promotional exam to allow officers of one rank to test for the next highest rank.  In this case, a promotional exam for the rank of lieutenant was held, creating a list of candidates to choose from.  The list has since expired. 
     Sergeants eligible to take the lieutenants exam, participated in a process that some members of the department believe was manipulated in the end.  The candidates testing results for the position of lieutenant were ranked on a list from which the Chief of Police would promote.  The Chief of Police has the right to promote an officer that ranks in the top three.  Once an officer has been selected from that top three, the officer ranked fourth moves up to three and so on.  It is not unusual for an officer to be ranked number one and not be promoted; it happened to Sergeant Todd Earl not once, but twice.

     After other sergeants had been promoted to lieutenant off the promotional list, Sergeant Earl found himself sitting number one, only to be passed over in favor of Sergeant Matthew Cassidy.  While Sgt. Earl continued sitting number one, the promotional list was allowed to expire while another open lieutenant's rank remained open.
     There are several reasons why an officer is passed over for promotion.  Although unable to prove, the reasons are speculative from within the rank and file.  Only the Chief of Police and his closest confidants are privy to what motivates the decision to promote or not promote.  Favoritism, unconditional allegiance to the Chief of Police, and other examples of cronyism have long been suspect as facilitators in a promotional process that is supposed to be fair, unbiased, and transparent.  Just look into Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea's involvement in the promotional procedures surrounding the selection of Police Chief John Parizeau and his inability to control former Police Chief Barney Tracy and one can understand how politics has a tendency to taint the process.  For one candidate, like Sgt. Earl, to be passed over once in favor of another candidate, is not uncommon.  To be left "hanging" number one on the list with an opening available, is questionable.
     While Sergeant Earl sat number one for a second time, with a lieutenants spot open, the list was allowed to expire.  There was speculation that Chief John Parizeau and Captain David Wayman manipulated the process.  These two ranking officers themselves, have been promoted under an alleged cloud of promotional impropriety  Why wasn't a sergeant promoted to lieutenant from the active list with a spot available.  Why was the list allowed to expire?  Was Chief John Parizeau trying to manipulate the process to get to a sergeant on the list that was not in the top three?
     In the Spring of this year, after the lieutenants promotional list had expired, the police department saw the promotion of Sergeant John Ricerca to the rank of Lieutenant.  The events surrounding this promotion left many to question the validity of the promotional testing process within the police department.  It had been discovered last year that Sgt. Ricerca had been receiving the pay of a lieutenant at a time when the police department's commanding officers had told others seeking promotion that "there was no money to promote."  Some deemed that the pay raise, but not the rank of lieutenant, given to Sgt. Ricerca in 2009 was a "back room" deal done outside of the police officer's union contract.  Ricerca sat number three on the expired lieutenant's list when he was ultimately promoted to lieutenant.  Why wasn't he promoted while the list was still active?  Would promoting Ricerca, thus skipping Sgt. Earl for the second time, validate other's claims that favoritism played a role in the selection process?
     Politics are not just limited to the lower ranks within the department.  Political wrangling can be found all the way up the chain of command to the office of the Chief of Police.
     The last two selections for the office of Chief of Police saw Captain Clifford Auchter lose out each time to a candidate that for one reason or another may have been less desirable amongst some of the rank and file of the department.  It has been alleged that during the selection process that resulted in the promotion of John Parizeau to Chief of Police, and David Wayman to Captain, the selection process was manipulated by Town Administrator Jim Gildea and some members of the Town Council.  In the case of former Police Chief Bernard Tracy, how else could a police officer,  with a history of assault, threats of violence, and accusations of harassment and retaliatory tactics, achieve such a rank within the department?  Also, how could a police officer, initially not wanting to participate in the Chief of Police selection process (John Parizeau), ultimately be named to that office?  Politics, perhaps?
     It appears that the selection process to appoint the next person to take over the helm of the Westfield Police Department is just around the corner.  Westfield Police Chief John M. Parizeau is linked to separate investigations surrounding his alleged misconduct and could soon be shown, or seek out, the back door.

     Once again, the Town is defending a police chief's actions, funding the defense with the use of the taxpayer's money.  If it appears, to the Town, that the Chief of Police has conducted himself in a manner that could result in possible criminal charges levied as a result of his alleged misconduct, is it cost effective to defend him, or show him the door?  The Town has to defend him regardless, to protect their vested interest. 
     Town officials do not want to be subjected to the "I told you so's" and the "I tried to warn you" that would resonate from within the police department's own rank and file and be echoed by others if another police chief has to retire under a cloud of alleged corruption.
     The fact of the matter is, it appears to be inevitable.


  1. Greg, if we are going to tell the whole story lets put in your report that Sgt. Ricerca promotion was obtained through a grievance. The promotion was not handed to him. He had to fight the chief and the Township for the promotion. The chief and the Township fought the grievance until they finally realized they could not win. If favoritism was the reason he was promoted it would have been done without the headache of a grievance. As for Sgt. Earl again tell the truth, he is not capable of holding the rank of Lieut. He barely survives as a sergeant. Just because you're a sergeant does not mean you can take the responsibilities of Lieut. Now that's the fact of the matter!

  2. Thank You, "Anonymous". Extremely well said!!

  3. The Fact of The MatterWednesday, June 01, 2011

    You make some good points. Consider these...The raise to the pay grade of lieutenant was given to Ricerca "out of contract" without the promotion to the rank of lieutenant. The raise would not have been discovered if not for the grievance filed by another officer in 2010. Why didn't Ricerca file a grievance back in 2009 or early 2010 before the promotional list expired? The fact of the matter is, he was not about to bite the hand that feeds him, the administration. It wasn't until the raise was discovered by other members of the department that the fight was on to obtain the rank. You have to question the legitimacy of the raise (out of contract)first, before you defend the promotion to lieutenant after the list expired.

    Sgt. Earl is currently receiving lieutenant's pay for acting in the capacity of a Watch Commander (lieutenant) in the absence of a lieutenant on nightshift. (Ricerca was not a Watch Commander when he received his raise.) Why not give Earl the rank now, after the list expired? It's been done before. Could it be because the administration wanted someone else? That would be favoritism. One would have to question why Earl was skipped once and then left hanging #1, as the promotional list was allowed to expire while an opening for lieutenant existed. The facts are the facts.

  4. What are you, a doctor? JGWednesday, June 01, 2011

    Why didn't Ricerca file a grievance before his raise was discovered by O'Keefe? Because he was probably told to sit tight and they would get him his promotion sooner or later. At least O'Keefe had a set of balls to file a grievance. The only reason Ricerca filed a grievance was because he had lost all respect, what little was left, from his peers for taking the raise behind the backs of our PBA union. He never informed the PBA of it until he was caught receiving it. It was favoritism. He never would have filed a grievance or wanted the headache because they would have pulled the raise from him if he opened his mouth. See, thats the way they do things around here. Throw you a bone but if you say wait a minute, I deserve a bigger bone or this is wrong and this ain't right, they pull the bone from you.

  5. Hey Anonymous, the "fight" or grievance you refer to was fixed all in the name to make it look good. Don King (Wayman) was the promoter. They are all in CAHOOTS! Ricerca, Wayman, Parizeau, Gildea, I smell another pasta and meatball dinner on the way! Start rolling those meatballs Mrs. R.

  6. The word "watch commander" as it appears in the contract can be interpreted in different ways. Is the commander of a Bureau a watch commander? Or is the only watch commander in patrol? That is the question what is the true definition as watch commander is in yhe contract. So since Sgt. Ricerca is the only supervisor in both the detective and juvenile Bureau some might say he is a watch commander and deserves watch commander pay until someone is promoted above the rank of Sgt.

    As for Sgt. Earl just because is acting Lieut. does not mean he's doing a good job. You Greg, especially should know what kind supervisor he is. Some might say he shouldn't even be a Sgt. That could be the answer why he's been passed up so many times.

  7. The Fact of The MatterWednesday, June 01, 2011

    I don't question the qualifications to take the promotional exam for the rank being sought. What I question is the manipulation of the process once the test results are revealed. In some cases, as in the last two police chief testing processes, the results are kept from the rank and file and transparency is nonexistent.

    Your point about specific supervisors not doing a good job or incapable of performing the duties of a specific rank don't just occur at one specific rank. It occurs up the chain of command right to the office of the Chief of Police.

    Based on what the current chief and patrol captain have been mired in, one would be able to categorize each of them accordingly with those alleged to have been doing a less than desirable job.

    Why not request Town Administrator Gildea to release the findings of the psychological examination involving Captain Wayman and Chief Parizeau, during the last selection process, to all members of the Town Council? Might someone discover that the process was manipulated in order to promote Wayman and Parizeau?

    If Sgt. Earl was incapable of being a lieutenant, why did the department allow him to take the test? He was qualified to take the test but was blocked from the promotion based on what reasons.....objective or subjective?

  8. Did Ricerca run the shift when a lieutenant was present in the building absent any captain or chief of whom are off three days a week now? The answer is NO. He was not a watch commander.

  9. ill put this as simply as i can...the whole system is corrupted. the infection started the day chief scutti retired. the new chief.. tracy had unprotected sex with a hooker called dilusion of grandure. she gave birth to the devil seed wayman. he became hooked on the drug power. the rest is a terrible horror show that the patrolmen and taxpayers of westfield have endured since. the new chief enters the scene and is quickly seduced by the devil seed. this easily ruins the once happy life that he led prior to his promotion. the patrolmen of westfield who have been selected for special assignments or the neverending training schools have had to sell their souls for the opportunity. they are the unknown rats that feed wayman's appitite for sorrow. now we are here. the total breakdown in trust and respect has cursed the once happy village of stuckyville. the only way to fix this mess is to find a true leader. someone who is fair and willing to be a true police chief. the people in westfild do not need another power drunk womanizer to head wpd. lets try a family oriented level headed cop's cop to lead us.