After the Seekonk Board of Selectmen voted 3-1 against Police Chief Ronald Charron’s staffing proposal at a December 21 meeting, Selectman John Whalen put an item on the agenda to rescind the opposing vote.
“I think it is essential to the harmony and the well-being of the department for this issue to be addressed again,” said Whalen.
Whalen emphasized that he had not talked to Chief Charron prior to asking the item be placed on the agenda.
Chief Charron addressed the selectmen and requested that the discussion on the organization of the police department be held off for the time being.
“It is wise for all of us to take a step back on this issue,” he said. “It was clear three weeks ago that there was no support by the board for my proposal.”
Chief Charron said the issue over the staffing has dominated his time and has been a distraction in the department.
“Never did I think the proposal three weeks ago would cause such a firestorm,” he said.
Still, while Chief Charron said it was in the best interests of the town and the police department for the discussion to be put on hold for now, he still believes his original proposal was the correct one.
“It is wise for all of us to take a step back on this issue,” Charron said.
Selectman Bob McClintock agreed, saying “Sometimes we all need to take a step back."
On a related issue, the selectmen did unanimously vote to approve Chief Charron’s request to replace a vacant sergeant position. The position is one that is already in the department’s budget as it is filling a position vacated by the retirement of a captain. This proposal had previously failed at the December 21 with a 2-2 vote.
“We need this now," Chief Charron said. "The other positions are not time sensitive, but this one is."