Friday, January 20, 2012

Two Strikes for Southbridge Police Candidates

Ken O’Brien
On December 19, 2011, the Southbridge Town Council voted to approve the appointment of three full-time police officers recommended by Police Chief Daniel Charette and the subcommittee on the Protection of Persons and Property.
The three candidates approved were Daniel P. Rogers of Southbridge, Miosotis Diaz-Ortiz of Southbridge and Brian A Ruggieri of Brookfield.
Rogers was subsequently compelled to withdraw his candidacy when it was found that he had made videos posted on you-tube that were described in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette of January 7, 2012. “During a scene in one video, a man wearing women’s clothing rings the doorbell to a home, and after an exchange, the respondent points a gun at the cross-dresser’s head, threatening to shoot him.
The sketch appears to make fun of both people in same-sex relationships and, because of the manner in which one character spoke, people who are developmentally challenged.”

It now appears that a second candidate, Miosotis Diaz-Ortiz of Southbridge, has also failed to pass muster for a similar position. Sources close to the police department and the town council have told me that they are aware that Ms. Diaz-Ortiz had failed to meet the conditions of her appointment, but that town officials had refused to confirm or deny that as a fact.
Insofar as those in a position to know the facts are unwilling to confirm these reports, I cannot confirm them. It is inevitable, however, that the truth will come out.
If this information is confirmed then a number of questions arise.
First, why are town officials unwilling to respond to inquiries regarding this matter in a forthright manner?
Second, what does this say about the complaints made by citizen Roger Caouette at the January 9, 2012 town council meeting? Specifically he said that the background material on these candidates was made available to those on the subcommittee only minutes before they were required to vote.
In his response, the town manager remarked, “…you know, in terms of hiring people, hiring people is a difficult process you have to have a certain level of trust, you certainly go back and do as much verification as you can in terms of the background, in terms of people, and, we didn’t catch everything we should, and the material we did come up has been addressed and I believe it has been addressed in an appropriate manner.”
What is interesting, and I will admit is open to some interpretation, is the phrase, “we didn’t catch everything we should”.

I have listened to the video several times. I will confess that it is possible that what the manager said was “did”. However, I am convinced that what he said was “didn’t”. This implies to me, and this is also my opinion, that there was a distinct possibility that he was aware that problems existed even as the votes were taking place.
Third, if the above information is true, then the town administration is confronted with a sticky political problem.
The fourth name on the list of qualified candidates for these full-time positions is Matthew L. Beinema. If his name is familiar, it should be obvious why. He is the son of a former Board of Health chair who is persona non grata among current political ruling circles.
His name preceded that of Ms. Ortiz-Diaz who was recommended ahead of him. However, another individual, Robert A. Shelby Jr., ranked second, and he was also skipped over.
The question that arises if there are now two openings is, will both of these individuals be passed over again, and if so, why?


  1. Stephanie DeMartinoJanuary 20, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    I believe going forward, more time should be taken when it comes to major decisions. Oh wait, I've been saying that all along. :)
    This certainly does not shine well on Chief Charette nor the Police Department if they continue to present these types of candidates.

  2. Stephanie, I happened to be visiting the Town Manager's office when he was interviewing the Candidates along with the Police Chief and two other officers in the Rice Conference room.

    We don't know what happened in there, but Chief Charette could have made the ideal choices and could have been trumped by the Town Manager.

    The Town Manager was even involved in the hiring of Health Department staff and kept two Board of Health members out of the process. Despots like to have absolute control.


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