Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Southbridge’s Rogue Regime – Part 2

Ken O’Brien
As regular readers of the O’Zone know, we first reported on the issue surrounding a second candidate for a full-time position at the Southbridge police department on January 20.
On January 21 we reported additional information detailing how the town administration planned to extend the period for this candidate to meet the eligibility requirements for that position.
At January 23rd’s town council meeting, during councilors’ forum, councilor Darlene Marcucci raised this issue.
In so doing she demonstrated a streak of independence, shared with councilor David Langevin.
As the wife of a former Southbridge police detective, she is well-acquainted with issues related to that department. Addressing the current situation, with that background, she expressed in no uncertain terms her consternation over the fact of the appointment of candidates who had not been properly vetted.
Her words echoed those of Roger Caouette, a citizen member of the subcommittee on the Protection of Persons and Property at the January 9th town council meeting. At that meeting he complained how the background material on the candidates that were appointed by the council at its December 19th meeting had been provided to subcommittee members only minutes before they were expected to vote on recommending the candidates.
The subsequent facts bear out those concerns. Since their appointment one candidate was compelled to withdraw when videos turned up on Youtube where he was reportedly involved in scenes involving a transvestite and the ridicule of the mentally challenged and the second failed her physical agility evaluation necessary to gain admission to the police academy.
These facts were further borne out by the town manager’s response. As regards the second candidate he maintained that employment laws precluded subjecting the candidate to an evaluation of physical or medical qualifications prior to being officially offered the position.
What remains unanswered, and what the council members failed to address, was how these events should be dealt with.
The three candidates originally appointed by the council ranked 1, 3 and 5 on the civil service list. Apparently the town administration conveyed no small measure of urgency as regards the need to make these appointments as evidenced by Mr. Caouette’s remarks. Now however, the town administration sees no problem in allowing the candidate who failed her physical requirements to serve as a dispatcher until another opportunity arises to enter the academy in six months. In addition, the other candidate who was withdrawn clearly will not be applying again at all.
One has to ask why candidates 2 and 4 on the list, who were passed over previously, have not been appointed to fill the existing vacancies. Are there reasons other than the political disfavor in which their families may be held that precludes them from eligibility?
Apparently there was some discussion as to whether this matter should be added to January 24th’s meeting of the subcommittee on the Protection of Persons and Property. However, it was decided that since the agenda for that meeting had already been promulgated, there may have been an Open Meeting Law issue.
It would seem to me that the two passed over candidates should be appointed, barring any information that would disqualify them that is unknown to the general public. It would seem a far more appropriate option than hoping that a candidate who has failed the physical requirements once will somehow be able to meet them later – while being paid for a position that obviously must have been filled prior to her disqualification from the position for which she was confirmed.


  1. Merlin says:

    Funny, they only mention adding agenda items being a violation of the OML when it suits them. Just peruse back through the minutes of the meetins since July 1, 2011, when Queen Catherine and Herr Clemence took over leadership of the Council, they've added plenty when it suited them.

    Hypocritical and double standards all the way around as you pointed out in Part I of this editorial.

    Your points are well made Mr. O'Brien. Now, who amongst us is going to step forward to serve the people of this town rather than the cronyism that is most certainly taking place.

  2. I received an email on this subject today that I found most interesting.

    The author likes to respond to me privately about my posts, but is reticent about making comments publicly.

    Nevertheless, without exposing his identity, I would like to quote from what he wrote.

    I will preface his remarks with the observation that he is an avowed Tea Party advocate with strong ties to Peter Durant and whatever ancillary political affiliations that may entail.

    He wrote, "Ken , allow me to be blunt and offer some perspective on the 2nd chance candidate.
    Police dept's are monitored for demographics and ranked I'm led to believe. In a stereotypical field of white men a woman is sought after to counter this demographic gender issue.
    A Hispanic woman is highly sought after. Locking her up in a position before going to the academy and passing her physical testing removes the high level of competition from other towns in trying to meet that demographic category. It eliminates the high level of competition in meeting that diverse demographic hiring requirement."

    Now, I consider myself an avowed Liberal. Consequently I found it amusing that a Tea Partier would be advocating an affirmative action position beyond what I consider appropriate.

    Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.

  3. You guys best lay off the Chief. He (I) will ignore your civil and Constitutional rights. Unless, of course, you're a friend of mine and I'll make you a confidential informant. Then you'll get a pass.

  4. The reason that 3 and 4 were not hired is because they did not sign the civil service list when they received there announcemment cards therefore; they did not wish to be considered for the job

  5. It is interesting that you should say that, since number three was hired and is the only one left standing.

  6. See comment at

  7. You post anonymously, but you are among those who criticize others who do the same.
    Why don't you have the courage, NO, the integrity to say who you are?
    Is it because you want to disseminate misinformation to try to confuse people about the real facts?

  8. Ok, number 2 and 4. The numbers are irrelevant, my point is they were not skipped or bypassed they choose not to sign for consideration. As for posting anonymous, I'm not criticizing anyone, just making corrections. Very familiar with civil service law, I have read it front to back and while I don't agree with all of it, it is what it is

  9. Sounds like a certain cop lover, who knows that the cops can do NO wrong!

  10. Do your homework before you start writing articles with tons of false information. Candidate number one was bypassed illegally and was not compelled to withdraw and he did not withdraw, the town went ahead and did that for him. The videos he was in were not poking fun at transvestites or mentally challenged people of course your writing this based on hear say because you did not in fact see these videos. Do some research and then write another article about the officer expected to replace the number one candidate. Look at the last name then maybe research his families situation with the town council.... favors are being done here and candidate number one who successfully passed all of the requirements to become a police officer was politically and illegally bypassed.



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