In the August 30 edition of the Revere Journal it was mistakenly stated by the newspaper reporter that the City Council voted on a request from the mayor to exempt the police chief position from Chapter 31 of the Massachusetts General Laws, which covers the civil service.
In fact, the council did not vote to approve the exemption, but voted to send it to the Public Safety Subcommittee of the council.
At this moment the mayor would not be able except any outside candidates for the position.
The Revere Journal regrets the error.
By Sue Ellen Woodcock
The city council has taken a request from the mayor to exempt the police chief position from Chapter 31 of the Massachusetts General Law and voted to send the request to the council’s public safety subcommittee for consideration.
As it stands now the mayor can only take police chief candidates from within the Revere department.
Arrigo cited wanting to make an investment in training at the police department and to raise the standards.
“We cannot put a price on the investment we make,” Arrigo said, about expanding the candidate pool. He also called for a top to bottom review of the police department, and a focus on community policing. At the same time he pledged his support of the men and women in the police department.
“I want to be very clear that I will not accept ‘we always do it this way’,” Arrigo said, adding his support for the men and women of the police department and he wants to provide them every resource necessary. “I want to make sure we invest in them, train and support them.”
Arrigo pledge more training for all officers, not a chosen few.
Sitting in the audience was was former police chief Joseph Cafarelli, his wife and a friend from his time as a Marine. Mayor Arrigo chose not to reappoint him and he finished his term June 30. James Guido is now the interim police chief. Cafarelli is without health insurance for him and his family and alleges no health insurance through COBRA was offered to him. There is a rumor about a potential lawsuit, but Cafarelli has confirmed that he has not filed a suit.
Arrigo said the current system includes constraints. He noted he wants the best and develop the best.
“There are those who seek to play politics with this issue, those who will frame this effort as some sort of insult to the men and women of the department,” Arrigo said. “Demanding high standards is not an insult.”
Arrigo said he wanted to be clear about the context of his request. He shared how the department was assessed by four of the most respected police chiefs in the Commonwealth who also evaluated the Revere Police Department’s candidates for chief. The top grade in the assessment center for the various candidates was a B-minus and most candidates were in the C range, Arrigo said. Arrigo hopes for an investment in the leadership of the department.
Arrigo noted that only two cities in the Commonwealth restrict candidates for police chief, Waltham and Revere. “With a department as large and complex as ours, it was highly unusual not to have higher scores,” Arrigo said. “We owe it to our city to have an expanded pool of candidates.”
Arrigo added one bit more for context for his request, a report that was commissioned under Mayor Dan Rizzo. Although Arrigo never mentioned Rizzo by name, the year on the report shows it to be in 2015. It also shows 2014 with a $25,000 contract with the Collins Center to perform an organizational analysis of the police department. Both Rizzo and Cafarelli received copies of the report.
“The former mayor came to this podium and accused me of wasting money,” Arrigo said.
Arrigo alleges the report was found at the end of July and was never implemented, wasting $25,000 and said he was playing politics with public safety.
“This is a very interesting accusation given what we discovered in the process of our review,” Arrigo said, adding that two years ago the mayor did pay an outside organization to do an analysis of the Revere Police Department.
Arrigo said the chief and the mayor never saw the report. Arrigo found out about the report from the consultant who did it.
“This report never saw the light of day until today,” Arrigo said, as the clerk handed out a copy of the report to the councillors.
Councillor George Rotondo interrupted and asked Arrigo why his request for the test and test questions in the assessment center were never given. Rotondo conned to cause more of a disruption during Arrigo;s testimony.
“Shocking and appalling to me that this information was hidden from the residents of Revere,” Arrigo said.
As the report went on, Rotondo interrupted again and again, arguing about suspending the rules and trying to raise a point.
“Why was this report was not released when it was issued and the city council left in the dark?,” Arrigo asked. “It was essentially tossed in the trash bin.”