Burlington mayor: Council makes new police chief hire unlikely

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement regarding the Council’s action last night regarding the Police Chief search:

“My goal in re-opening the search for a permanent police chief last May was to help build a much needed new consensus about the future of public safety in this community. We started with a multi-month public engagement process, issued a report detailing the ideal candidate for the community in this moment, and assembled a diverse search committee to review potential candidates.

“Unfortunately, Progressives City Councilors have made this goal of consensus impossible by denying the Administration the tools and conditions we need to recruit a broad pool of candidates. Progressive City Councilors have blocked the Administration since September from increasing the salary for the open Chief’s position, a step routinely taken by the City to ensure that our leadership positions are competitive. 

“On November 12, I outlined a clear path forward to strengthen the search by requesting that the City Council take five actions (full letter here):

  1. Increase the Police Chief compensation.
  2. Support retaining an executive search firm to lead the search process.
  3. Create civilian recruiter position and resource Department recruitment efforts.
  4. Create a civilian Public Information Officer (PIO).
  5. Retain the Police Chief’s leadership over officer discipline.

“The action taken by the Council last night is non-responsive to realities facing the City today. As the Council acknowledged last night, this resolution only authorizes an expenditure of $75,000 for an executive search firm. It does not bind or constrain my authority to complete the search process and bring forward a candidate. Without the Council commitment to raising the salary cap, hiring a PIO and recruiter, or to retaining Police Chief’s leadership over discipline, this action does not give the Administration what it needs to successfully re-start the search process. Instead, it is nearly certain to squander months of valuable time and waste tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer resources and could well result in the loss of the two qualified candidates that have applied and are eager to serve Burlington.

“It remains within the Mayor’s authority under City Charter to select and make department head appointments, and I believe it is my duty to do so urgently. Consistent with my November 12 memo to the City Council, I will move forward with our current pool of candidates, with the goal of putting forward an appointee for Council confirmation early in the new year. The community and our police department need a permanent chief now. Our efforts to rebuild the department, to protect public safety, and to create a community in which everyone feels safe and welcome are all suffering from an extended period without permanent leadership.”

4 replies »

  1. Perhaps Weinberger has found a way around the petulant children that comprise the Burlington City Council, at least for this issue.
    It will be interesting to see the results of city elections in March, it could well be the last opportunity to restore sanity to Burlington’s political problems.

  2. Burlington and Montpelier city once a model of bucolic vermont have become highly dysfunctional, unsafe places to visit or do business. Most vermonters I talk with are embarrassed and go out of their way to avoid them.

    The astute can see that these progressive experiments there are failing.

    Their economic base is crumbling, foretelling as the mayor well knows, that much harder times are ahead.

    History shows that there is no substitute for strong moral values, discipline, and tough love.

  3. Anybody who applies for the chiefs job no matter how much it pays would have to have rocks in there head. With no backing from the useless city council who are killing the city who the hell would take the job.

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