Now-defunct Hinsdale Police Chief Search Committee hit with Open Meeting Law violation
HINSDALE -- As the town moves to swear in Mark L. Smith as its new police chief Sunday, the state Attorney General's Office censured the now-defunct committee that helped choose him with an Open Meeting Law violation.
In a determination issued by the office on June 23, the Hinsdale Police Chief Search Committee failed "to include a topic reasonably anticipated by the chair in the notice for its March 7, 2014, meeting."
In the agenda posted for the committee's first meeting, committee members failed to properly take note of a discussion that ultimately came up during the proceeding, namely, that the town would advertise the position with the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.
The named agenda items included "organizational meeting-structure" and establishment of a schedule topics.
"We didn't really like the way that first meeting came across," Angela Stetson, who filed the complaint with her husband, Bruce, said. "They discussed things outside the agenda and appeared not to be fond of having the citizens there. [Members of the committee] immediately told everyone there would be no public comment."
Stetson identified herself as a supporter of former Hinsdale Police Chief Nancy Daniels, who the Select Board fired in January for failing to complete requisite training for full-time officers with the Massachusetts Police Training Committee.
The move caused a row in town that resulted in some unruliness at meetings, which the search committee's chairman, Raymond Bolduc, cited as a concern for the committee.
"The short version of this story is, I looked at [the committee's discussion] as part of the organizational meeting and somebody with ‘Esq.' at the end of their name disagrees," Bolduc said.
The search committee now dissolved, Smith will occupy his new role beginning Sunday.
Daniels has told The Eagle she plans to pursue litigation against the town because she believes she was terminated unjustly.
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