They believed that, as the runner up in the last search, and as a 34-year department veteran, he is the most obvious choice. According to WWLP, Board Chairman Chris Gabrieli said:
"I don't want to exclude any candidate. I think your job is to get the best person, period. We are trying to scope the search that recognizes that we have a strong local candidate; let's have some quick, strong alternatives."
Nobody can deny that there all parties involved want the best replacement for the city. However, the fact that this motion carried with the support of the three state-appointed candidates alone says something, you guessed it, political.
The Springfield Control Board's legacy has former governor Mitt Romney's fingerprints all over it. Much of that impact cannot be erased as it is related to the positive steps the city has taken. Before that statement is taken out of context WMassP&I IS NOT CREDITING Romney with the city's thus-far recovery. But his administration played a role in everything the Board has done up until current-governor, Deval Patrick, was sworn in.
Less cynically, he might also be concerned about whether Fitchet is a truly independent character or tied to the machine in Springfield, being a 34-year veteran of the department. That is only speculation. A comment on Urban Compass by frequently appearing "NoPolitician," regarding City Council President Kateri Walsh's anti-outsider stance on the commissioner's job suggests that this is not wholly out of line.
In any event, the Control Board is going to do what it is going to do. Fitchet is the most reasonable choice, because going through another search is just a waste of everybody's time. He has community support and he has mayor-elect Domenic Sarno's support. But Patrick has his own agenda, and for the time being, we have no choice, but be subject to it.
*See the Urban Compass story for more details about the meeting.