Tisbury selectmen narrow police chief candidates
Although no announcement was made at Tuesday night's Tisbury selectmen's meeting regarding progress in the search for a new police chief, yesterday selectman chairman Tristan Israel told The Times that the three finalists have been narrowed to two.
He also confirmed that the search process continued with an off-Island visit by town administrator John Bugbee and Acting Police Chief Tim Stobie to check on one of the finalists. The planned visit also was not made public.
The two finalists for the job are officer Daniel Hanavan of the Tisbury Police Department and Capt. John Cashin of the Norwalk Police Department. Lt. Kenneth Harrison of the Weymouth Police Department was eliminated from consideration, said Mr. Israel.
Following public interviews on July 18 of all three candidates, the selectmen met in executive session and then reconvened in open session for a discussion with members of the chief search committee.
Exactly how and when the decision was made to cut one of the candidates was unclear. Yesterday, selectmen Denys Wortman would only say the decision was made "recently." Mr. Israel said the selectmen made the decision following the interviews.
Mr. Israel also said the selectmen wanted to wait before making a public announcement until they knew Mr. Harrison had received a letter of notification.
Mr. Israel commented that the selectmen decided not to make mention of it Tuesday night because they anticipated a visit to Mr. Cashin's hometown to solicit outside opinions from those who might know him.
Efforts to cloak the process continued when without mentioning any names, town administrator John Bugbee announced at Tuesday night's selectmen's meeting that he planned to visit the candidates' workplaces in their home towns to do further research.
On Wednesday, Aase Jones, assistant town administrator, told a Times reporter who called town hall to speak with Mr. Bugbee that she preferred not to comment on his whereabouts that day.
Yesterday, Mr. Israel confirmed that Mr. Bugbee and Acting Police Chief Tim Stobie were visiting the Norwalk Police Department in order to speak informally with Captain Cashin's colleagues and learn more about him.
"We were not trying to be secretive about anything, but were just trying to find out some more information quietly without just speaking to people listed as references," Mr. Israel said.
The selectmen made the decision to visit Captain Cashin's workplace in their meeting last week that followed the candidates' interviews, Mr. Israel said. Since none of the selectmen was available for the trip on Wednesday, he said they opted to send Mr. Bugbee and Chief Stobie, who had participated on the police chief search committee.
"From an official point of view, we have narrowed the list to two, and are doing further research on them before reaching a decision," said Mr. Israel. "We will be voting on the final candidate publicly."
The selectmen will meet next week for further discussion, Mr. Israel said. "Tim Stobie has done a great job as acting chief, and his being there has afforded us the luxury to take our time to make the right decision."
In other business Tuesday night, the selectmen interviewed Stephen Gallas, a member of Tisbury's volunteer fire department, for a position as the town's emergency management director, which was advertised in early June. Mr. Gallas said he has a keen interest in pre-planning for emergencies and has completed a hazardous materials class and taken online classes to familiarize himself with emergency management.
The town's current emergency management director, Richard Townes, was unable to attend Tuesday's meeting and said he has not decided yet whether he wishes to continue to serve, Mr. Bugbee said.
In view of their longstanding relationship with Mr. Townes, Mr. Israel and selectman Tom Pachico said they were reluctant to make a decision on the position until they have spoken with Mr. Townes, and suggested that perhaps Mr. Gallas might consider serving as his assistant. Mr. Gallas said he would prefer to serve in the position for which he applied.
Offering his "unsolicited opinion," Fire Chief John Schilling told the selectmen that if they chose to reappoint Mr. Townes, they needed to give him some direction. "Our efforts to improve communications and pre-planning have not been successful with Mr. Townes," Chief Schilling said.
The selectmen tabled their decision until August.
In other business, the selectmen agreed to borrow a speed-measuring sign shared by Oak Bluffs and Edgartown for placement on Franklin Street, in response to complaints from neighborhood residents about speeding traffic. The selectmen agreed they will plan to buy one after Chief Stobie does some research on the cost, which he estimated at $3,500 to $5,000, and in consultation with the Finance and Advisory Committee.
In town department reports, Chief Stobie said he has 12 applicants in response to an advertisement for a permanent police officer. Fire Chief John Schilling requested signage and police enforcement to keep parked vehicles from blocking the front of the fire station on Beach Road.