The decision of the Massachusetts Police Training Committee in November to reject a request of a waiver for Hinsdale Police Chief Nancy Daniels from a mandated training course because of legitimate medical reasons never passed the smell test. It now appears, based on a story in today’s Eagle, that the letter requesting the waiver sent by Select Board Chairwoman Bonnie Conner may have lacked the information necessary for the MPTC to act favorably on the request. Plainly the waiver request should be made again, but the relationship between Ms. Conner and Chief Daniels is the larger issue.
Because of an ankle injury and other health issues, Ms. Daniels could not complete the six-month course mandated for full-time officers in the state. After requests from allies of Ms. Daniels, Ms. Conner sent a letter to the MPTC, and when the wavier was rejected, the chief was put on paid administrative leave by the chairwoman. In a presentation to the Select Board Wednesday, Daniels’ attorney, Mark Brennan, reported that the chief and Selectman Bruce Marshall attended a meeting of the MPTC last month and found that the waiver request lacked sufficient detail for the committee to grant the waiver. In the interim, the town has been without a police chief.
Chairwoman Conner had filed a disciplinary letter against Chief Daniels for allegedly failing to apprise the board of an ongoing investigation. Mr. Brennan argues that this could not be done without a hearing in executive session, and plainly Ms. Daniels deserved that opportunity. With this as context, the waiver request evidently lacking the information needed for the MPTC to act arouses suspicion. The Eagle has not been able obtain a copy of the letter, but will continue to pursue it.
It can be said that this is the latest of a series of needless, petty disputes that poison Hinsdale. Like all small Berkshire towns, Hinsdale has enough on its plate without feuds, politics and personality clashes disrupting the community.