PITTSFIELD -- City police union members have joined Fire Department union members in pressuring the city to retain the Civil Service process for appointment of chiefs of both departments.
Two police union locals in the city issued a statement Tuesday supporting continuation of Civil Service for the chiefs -- highlighting an issue being debated by the Charter Review Study Committee. That group, which is expected to recommend revisions to the city charter, will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday, and the issue is an agenda item.
During a charter group meeting on Feb. 19, firefighters' Local 2647 President Tim Bartini said the union planned legal action that could require Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi to pick a chief from among the top three candidates who passed the most recent Civil Service exam for the post.
Both Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski and Police Chief Michael J. Wynn were appointed by former Mayor James M. Ruberto in an "acting" capacity not involving the Civil Service process. Ruberto, like Bianchi, who took office in January 2012, have said the chief positions should be removed from the process to allow greater leeway in searching for and appointing the best candidate.
On Tuesday, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 447 in Pittsfield, and Pittsfield Police Superior Officers Union Local 447S released a statement urging retention of Civil Service for chiefs. The union locals state that from 1981, when the police chief's job was removed
The statement, which will be reprinted as a letter to The Eagle, notes that city voters in 1991 approved returning the chief's position to Civil Service.