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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Westfield Town Administrator's "Flip-Flop" on Selection Process Raises Questions Concerning Abuse of Power

The following was written by Westfield Leader reporter Michael Pollack and appeared in the December 22, 2005 edition of the Westfield Leader newspaper. 
In 2005, with the departure of police chief Bernard Tracy under a cloud of alleged corruption, town officials held a selection process to select its next police chief. 
Recently, similar circumstances resulted in the departure of current police chief John Parizeau but yet town officials held no such selection process this time around. 
TFoTM asks town officials, why the quick and quiet nomination and appointment of Captain David Wayman to police chief without any transparent, fair, and unbiased testing process?  Why weren't police lieutenants included in the selection process?  How could Gildea select a new chief in three weeks time when it took four months to select the previous chief? 
Westfield Leader
December 22, 2005 
WESTFIELD – Mayor Andy Skibitsky and the town council named acting Police Chief John Parizeau as the full-time police chief Tuesday night.  The council unanimously selected acting Chief Parizeau over Captain Clifford Auchter, following a four-month process which included six candidates.  Former captain Barnard Tracy vacated the position when he retired in September.  
     After Mr. Gildea recommended acting Chief Parizeau in executive decision, the council reconvened and announced their decision. Shortly afterward, during a second private session, Mr. Gildea phoned both men to inform them of the council’s decision.  Last Saturday, the two final police chief candidates interviewed with the town administrator and the entire council.  Mr. Gildea said the body worked towards finalizing their choice, slimming the applicant pool from six to two.  “We look for a lot of different qualities,” Mayor Skibitsky told The Westfield Leader after the meeting. He said the new chief must “be a good communicator.”  The mayor also indicated that he looked for a person who was “fair, but firm,” had “good listening skills” and was “respected for his knowledge.”  “Both candidates met the qualities,”  he said. “There are slight differences, but both have stellar records, great files.” 
     The mayor said his goal is to further a “community-oriented” police force.  “I’m looking for a transparent, on-street team that’s out meeting people. John (Parizeau) will move that forward.”  “He (Parizeau) has ideas on personnel matters, budget, public safety and community policing,” the mayor added.  Chief Parizeau told The Westfield Leader that he’s excited about the opportunity and “can’t wait to start.” He mentioned that one of his primary goals is to increase the size of the traffic bureau. “There are a lot of complaints about speeding and accidents. We need to replace the people who have left and increase the size.”
     In the past, Chief Parizeau has been integral in conducting traffic studies and surveys and “bringing the department up to present technology,” including installing computers in police cars.  “I want to start a quick review of everything and see where our manpower is being used and shift around,” he said. The chief considers himself a “team player, who will not dictate from the top down.”  He said he will not be “a chief who rules with an iron fist,” viewing the job as a team effort. He said he will evaluate the entire department and “judge everything and see what everyone can add to the department.” 
     Ultimately,  he forsees a “fair and impartial department.”  The town offered eight individuals the opportunity to apply and four lieutenants and both captains — Captain Auchter and Captain Parizeau did so.  Mr. Gildea said the applicants underwent a psychological analysis — something that every new town hire experiences.  While an important aspect of the selection process, the psychological analysis “is only one piece of the puzzle.  It’s not a deciding factor,” Mr. Gildea said. “It’s an independent look at a candidate’s suitability for chief.” He said the town examines the characteristics to make sure the person is not “unstable.” 
     The council also investigated each candidate’s education, background, work history and own personal and management styles. Just as in the hiring of the fire chief, Mr. Gildea  surveyed  the police to gauge their feeling of the department. “We of course didn’t ask who should be chief, but we got a profile of the person we need.” 
     While acknowledging that no “normal procedure” exists for selecting a replacement, he said the severity of the position warranted a look at the lieutenant rank. “My feeling is that this is so crucial of a decision for the town and the department, I want to make sure we weren’t missing things. The council supported my decision 100 percent to open things up to the lower ranks.”  “It comes down to intangibles,” he added. 
     Mr. Gildea agreed that the police department’s profile was heightened in the wake of a claim filed against Mr. Tracy by Detective Sandra Chambers.  Detective Chambers alleged favoritism in the department led to her termination when a similar offense committed by another officer was handled differently.  In addition, claims were made that the police department supposedly conducted background checks against residents who spoke out against the planned parking deck. Mr. Gildea said that in light of the Chief Tracy situation, the town subjected applicants to questions pertaining to their aptitude to handle specific situations such as those over the past year.  “I wouldn’t be a good manager if we didn’t consider those things,” Mr. Gildea said. “Absolutely, we need to get the sense how they would react.
     Questions were asked to that realm to see how they would react and what their management style would be.” “Policing and managing has changed drastically,” he added. “So, we want someone to adapt to be a modern leader and take things head on, not squelch anything,” he added. He also admitted that the “perception (of the department) is not the greatest,” but what occurred recently (Tracy situation, alleged unauthorized background checks) is really “few and far between.”  “We’re looking at the pieces and asking the appropriate questions,” said Mr. Gildea. 
     Saying that Chief Tracy “did a good job,” Mr. Gildea noted that filling the vacancy “provides an opportunity or a challenge to put a fresh face on the department or the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and change the culture.” No decision has been made on the new chief’s salary. As with the fire chief, the town fills the position, and then undergoes a “short negotiation” with the candidate.     
     Mr. Gildea said the town must take into consideration that Chief Tracy’s salary is on the books until the end of January. While not knowing the range, he estimated that the salary would be between $80,000 and $120,000.  The swearing in should take place the first week or two in January and the compensation will follow shortly. Mr. Gildea said he was recommending that the new chief be sworn in during the town’s reorganization meeting on Tuesday, January 3. 
     Captain Parizeau was named acting chief in September. He was promoted to the rank of captain on February 1 of this year.  He graduated from the College of New Jersey and was appointed to the department on March 29, 1981. He pointed out to The Westfield Leader that he is the first chief to hold a four-year degree in criminal justice. He was promoted to the rank of plainclothes officer on February 1, 1987 and assigned to the Juvenile Detective Bureaus, Sergeant on July 1, 1988, Detective Sergeant on January 1, 1997 and Lieutenant of Police on December 27, 1999.  He has served as the Records Bureau Commander and is the department’s informational technology and media officer.

21 comments:

  1. In 2005 Gildea was able to guarantee that Auchter wouldn't become chief by openning the process up to lieutenants. In 2012 he was able to guarantee Wayman gets it by shutting out the lieutenants from the process. No one person should be able to manipulate a process as important as this; not with Gildea's track record.

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  2. It is obvious that the town no longer wants the best qualified for the position of chief...but rather uses cronyism to decide .....wonder how many bar tabs did Dave pick up after the meetings to secure the job.....

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    1. Protect & ServeThursday, April 12, 2012

      He won't be picking up any more of Gildea or Skibitsky's bar tabs. That would make him culpable should they be stopped for DWI and found to be intoxicated. Happy motoring gentleman. We will protect the public after you are served.

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  3. This is no different than when Gildea promoted Checchio at the pool, Claude At the DPW or his girlfriend Claire to town clerk.

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  4. Hey Jim, why didn't you survey the police this time around to "gauge their feelings of the department"? Because the overwhelming response would have been contrary to what you wanted to hear. You don't have to work for Wayman, we do. Don't know who the bigger scumbag is, you or Wayman.

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    1. That should be a poll question here......

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  5. Yet another sad example of how corrupt it is on the inside. You have to wonder why the rush to pick the new Police Chief. The Meter Maid is better qualified to serve as Chief ...

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  6. Just another fine example of how corrupt it is down at Town Hall and the WPD. I do believe the Meter Maid would be better qualified to serve in the position of Police Chief. Hey Wayman, paint the ceiling a pretty color so you can stare at it all day laughing to yourself how in the world you got the job. But it's only a matter of time before you shoot yourself in the foot ...

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  7. Can someone explain why town admin. Gildea has license plates on his town owned vehicle that are "not on file" when run by police? This was a "gift" from Barney Bach in the day. Shouldn't he have "MG-" municipal government license plates?

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    1. Why should he have municipal plates.......he wouldn't be able to take care of all his personal business on the taxpayers dime. How do you think it would look if his car were seen at the hourly rate Swan Motel during working hours? Or running errands on the weekends.

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  8. I'm happy to see Dave make chief. Now maybe can get to the bottom of who was stealing confidential informant funds and other property from the safe in the D.B.

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  9. All those late nights at Antones with Pat, Kevin, John, and Barney throwing back beers, shots and toasting to the power had to be funded somehow Jeffrey. It was better to spend the money on booze then to give it to a crack addicted informant code named Skeeter D.

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  10. Hey all you disgruntled cops! There is an exit door at the WPD… use it! Make room for a more positive atmosphere for the cops that care about doing their jobs. They and we are tired of listening to your negativity along with your leader Kasko.

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    1. The only ones that CARE about doing their jobs are the ones that are being taken CARE OF.

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  11. To All the ResidentsThursday, April 12, 2012

    Unfortunately Wayman is my new leader. I try to keep a positive attitude but you try dealing with the BS he serves up and you might be singing a different tune.

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    1. Some should post his deeds here...

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  12. To the Westfield police who are posting anonymously on this blog. If you're so miserable, so angry and frustrated,perhaps it is time to leave. NO ONE from the inside should have been considered for the job. The force is tainted from top to bottom and I now am very concerned about the quality of protection Westfield townspeople will receive. As frustrated as the members of the force are, they have plenty of time to go to Vicki's Diner or park on side streets to nap. That being said, I would give up hope entirely about our police force if it had not been for 2 incidents where they responded and helped my kids.

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  13. The Police Officers who blog are not the brightest bulbs in that building. One of them uses his girlfriend's computer and she recently caught him on Match.com

    The issue of Westfield Police is further complicated by the investigation of the Union County Prosecutor. This Prosecutor Theodore Romankow faces some very serious fraud and corruption charges. The Prosecutor usually has some hand in the selection process but Westfield Mayor and Council are distancing themselves from him.

    There is also the attorney's who are involved in the pending Ethics Complaint against Romankow. An Ethics Complaint by your peers - attorneys is a serious blow to the County and the State. I understand he is to be charged under Rules of Professional Conduct and Special Rules of a Prosecutor.

    This Prosecutor either ends up like Nilfong of Duke Lacrosse fame or as some have said maybe he does a "Bissell" like the former Somerset County Prosecutor Nicholas Bissell.

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  14. Knock it off Rotchford....you are a bitter man who lost every lawsuit you ever filed against the PD andthe town...go quietly into the night loser...

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  15. OMG....do you guys have nothing better to do. Perhaps instead of complaining about the peons......someone get the balls and run for Mayor it can't be that hard to beat a guy named....Spinginsky????????

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