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Council Committee Meeting Set To Address Gaudett Contract

February 22nd, 2016 · 11 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Council, Civil Service, Law Enforcement, News and Events

The  City Council’s Contracts Committee is scheduled to meet February 29, 5:30 p.m. in the Wheeler Room of City Hall to examine a pact with Joe Gaudett segueing from police chief to supervising a department as a contract worker. The three-year package is worth roughly $125,000 per year that also allows Gaudett to continue collecting his $78,534 annual city pension.

The Contracts Committee is co-chaired by Jack Banta and Jeanette Herron. Milta Feliciano, Richard Salter, Jim Holloway, Alfredo Castillo and Anthony Paoletto are also committee members. The meeting has been set in advance of a scheduled special meeting of the City Council the same night. So if the Contracts Committee approves the agreement crafted by lawyers for the city and Gaudett it could be approved by the full council that evening.

If that’s the case, Mayor Joe Ganim would appoint an acting chief–the name at the top of the list is Captain A.J. Perez–triggering a selection process for a permanent chief.

According to the City Charter, following a police chief vacancy, Civil Service Personnel Director David Dunn has 150 days to conduct a test for a permanent chief that could include a written examination or simply oral interviews before a search committee that in the past has been selected by the mayor. A private firm could be brought in to vet and conduct background checks on candidates. The search committee would narrow choices to three finalists. The mayor would appoint a chief from the top three to a five-year term with an option to appoint for another five years. A chief, based on a charter change approved by voters more than 25 years ago, cannot serve for more than 10 years.

Based on past practice it could take a year before a permanent chief is selected.

The backdrop of this was Bill Finch in the last days of his mayoralty appointing Gaudett to another five-year term rather than allowing Ganim to authorize the process for a new chief. Ganim’s comeback bid was buoyed by many members of the police union who wanted Gaudett out. Ganim on the campaign trial pledged to appoint a new police leader.

Finch’s reappointment of Gaudett prompted Ganim to devise a strategy to move out Gaudett. He started by bringing in former Chief Wilbur Chapman as a senior adviser on public safety who marginalized Gaudett as chief carrying out mayoral directives.

Negotiations ensued with Gaudett to work out a pricey buyout of his contract worth about $700k. When they could not come to terms, discussions centered on Gaudett resigning as chief but accepting a contract position overseeing a unit such as the Emergency Operations Center reporting to Chapman. As a contract employee Gaudett could continue accepting his annual pension accrued as a result of his police service.

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • Phil Smith

    It will be interesting to see whether the Committee meets in public or tries to hide behind an executive session or caucus.

  • Phil Smith

    I continue to hope someone will read the law, consider the facts and then do the right thing.

  • The Phantom

    Under the FOI act, any commission can go into executive session to discuss “personnel” issues or any employee and or his or her job performance. The employee maintains the right to stay in regular session, however most folks do not want to air their issues, especially cash settlements, in public.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Lennie,
    I expect you wrote this before you read about the Cancelled City Council meeting of March 7, 2016 for “lack of a quorum.” Interesting explanation, possibly the real answer is other. However, there is a Special Meeting on February 29, 2016, one week earlier, to replace the cancelled Council meeting and it will follow on the heels of the Contract Committee, perhaps if the Contracts membership endorses it unanimously it will go to the consent calendar and the public will never know who is speaking for the “taxpayer.” There is a public speaking signup for this Special City Council meeting. What else will be on the Agenda? Time will tell.

    • LennieGrimaldi

      Thanks JML, updated to reflect.

    • Ron Mackey

      John Marshall Lee, I just want to comment on one thing you mention and that is the “consent calendar,” that is one of the worst but legal actions the City Council employs. JML, you bring up a lot of good points but using that consent calendar goes against your core values.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Ron,
        I raise the subject of the “consent calendar” technique because too many OIB readers who do not attend the CC meetings ever, or only infrequently, are unfamiliar with how the use of the calendar can impede the public’s knowledge of what is in the minds (?) of City Council persons on a particular resolution. (A similar lack of transparency occurs when a voice vote is taken and to an average ear the vote is in doubt. Only a roll call vote will clarify by distinguishing each “aye” from the “nays.”)

        A Council person can ask for matters that are listed in the Agenda under the Consent Calendar area to be separated so that discussion can occur. It happens pretty rarely.

        However, this may be different because the Committee Meeting will occur on the same evening so its decision will not appear on the meeting agenda. Wait and see? If you wish the subject to become public, talk to your Council person and ask them to get the item publicly discussed. Time will tell.

  • Mojo

    *** NOT GOOD FOR THE CITY IN GENERAL, WASTE OF MORE MONEY AND FOR WHAT? THE MAYOR IN THE END STILL HAS CONTROL OVER HIS POLICE CHIEF, ESPECIALLY SOMEONE LIKE JOE WHO’S BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK WITH THESE KIND OF ISSUES BEFORE. I WANT MY CAKE AND I WANT IT NOW, DAMN IT! $$$ COME ON MAN, REALLY! $$$

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