Former chief won’t help choose his successor

Rossi says move is important for ‘fair and equitable’ process.

Former Edgartown Police Chief David Rossi has removed himself from a committee to pick his successor. –File photo

Former Edgartown Police Chief David Rossi will no longer sit on the screening committee to pick his replacement.

At the board of selectmen’s meeting Monday, chairman Arthur Smadbeck read a letter from Rossi announcing his intention to step down from the committee. Rossi, who retired after suffering a heart attack, cited questions raised about the process of selecting the next chief.

“I believe that in order for the Edgartown Police Department to feel this is a fair and equitable process, it is best for me to remove myself from the search committee for the next chief of police of Edgartown,” he wrote. In his letter, Rossi said his decisions have always been made with the best interest of the town in mind. “I believe in this process and I have confidence the board will make the best decision,” he wrote.

The board voted 2-0 to accept his resignation from the committee. Selectman Margaret Serpa, who is Rossi’s mother-in-law, voted. Selectman Michael Donaroma was absent.

Gail Gardner asked the board to consider appointing her to the committee, but selectmen declined. The board has already turned down a request by the patrolmen’s union to be included on the search committee, though finalists will have a forum with the union, Smadbeck said.

Smadbeck said a retired sergeant may be added to the search committee, though no decision was made.

The board also addressed 19 questions raised by Gardner in an email, including whether the job was being targeted toward an off-Island police captain who owns property in Edgartown.

Smadbeck dismissed that allegation, which has been making the rounds on social media, saying he doesn’t even know the person.

“I can assure you it would never be tailored to any one person,” Smadbeck said of the chief’s job. “That’s not my style.”

Integrity Testing has been hired to review applicants and narrow the field to finalists, Smadbeck said.

Other questions raised by Gardner include a suggestion to have a written policy for how to conduct a police chief search.

Smadbeck said it’s a good suggestion, and one the board intends to discuss once a police chief is hired.

As for why the union is not being included on the search committee, Smadbeck acknowledged internal strife in the department that would just further upset factions within the department.

In other business, the board approved a change of ownership on the liquor license for Alchemy restaurant, to A on Main Fine Dining LLC. Though the restaurant has changed hands, the previous owners, Scott and Charlotte Caskey, plan to remain and manage the restaurant, Sean Murphy, an attorney representing Alchemy’s new principal owner, Todd Dagres, said.

“He likes Alchemy just the way it is,” Murphy said. “Down the line there may be some changes as far as the management, but the general concept will stay the same.”

The board also gave its blessing to having the dredge committee seek business outside Edgartown for the use of its new dredge, purchased with $628,000 approved at last spring’s town meeting. Vineyard Haven and Mashpee have expressed interest in hiring the dredge for work needed along the shoreline.

Procurement officer Juliet Mulinare said the dredge has been a moneymaker for Barnstable County. “We’re just looking into it, investigating,” she said. “Barnstable County does quite a bit of work all across the Cape, generates a ridiculous amount of revenue … It’s been a very productive endeavor for them.”

After selectmen offered preliminary approval of the concept, town administrator Pam Dolby had this advice for the dredge committee: “See if you can get that dredge paid off really fast.”

Two restaurants will be closing for the month of February — Edgartown Diner and Edgartown Meat & Fish both asked for and received permission for the temporary closings.