Tisbury selectmen spare the details
Tristan Israel began Tuesday's selectmen's meeting with the news that he and his colleagues will not renew police Chief John Cashin's contract. He read from a press release and added that although the chief's contract officially expires on September 5, the selectmen and Mr. Cashin agreed he would end his tenure at the close of business yesterday. The official announcement ended days of rumors and speculation.
"The selectmen expressed disappointment that the relationship was ending, however, they collectively agreed that it was time to move in a new direction," Mr. Israel read from the press statement, an unusual practice for the usually expansive selectman.
After he read the press release, however, Mr. Israel made a few points of his own. He attempted to reassure the community that it will be business as usual for the town's veteran police department members and that the police know what they are doing when it comes to law enforcement.
"From my own point of view - we need to come together as a town and try and be positive," Mr. Israel said. "There's a positive way to criticize and a constructive way to criticize, and then there's just backbiting and negativism. I think that, I'm hoping that, we can all move beyond that."
Mr. Israel said that the selectmen look forward to taking steps to improve communication, not only in the police department, but throughout town government.
"And one other thing," he added, throwing off the restraints imposed by the press release altogether, "you know, rumors are rumors, and then there's gossip, and then there's just viciousness." He did not explain.
In a veiled reference to the appointment later that evening, in executive session, of Officer Dan Hanavan as interim police chief, Mr. Israel said the selectmen are making plans for the police department that would be revealed this week. He said the selectmen are optimistic.
"We sit here, all of us, looking for your input, whether at meetings or in phone calls, and again, we're going to work positively with the police department on moving forward," Mr. Israel said. "And the statement that I read about Mr. Cashin, all of us share. He did bring a lot to our town and our community, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."
Mr. Israel invited questions or comments from the public. The Martha's Vineyard Times asked what prompted the selectmen to ask Mr. Cashin to leave before his contract expired.
"I think the statement we read at the beginning really is all at this time I'm willing to talk about right now, with the exception that I will say that he wasn't 'sacked,' as I read somewhere," Mr. Israel said.
Mr. Israel referred to a news report published by the Vineyard Gazette on its website. Gazette reporter Mike Seccombe wrote that selectmen "have sacked" Mr. Cashin.
"Point well taken," conceded Mr. Seccombe, who was present. "Was there an actual vote taken between the selectmen as to his future?"